The power of positive questions was the topic of my interview on the Greatness Zone with host, Jay Forte. Jay’s work is to provide talent and strength-based tools to help people live extraordinary lives, so we had a good affinity.
Jay had seen my TEDxNavesink talk, Playful Inquiry – Try this Anywhere and simply loved my opening question: “What’s the best thing that’s happened to you today.”
Together, we explored the impact of asking questions that empowered both the inquirer and the inquiree. There is reciprocal value in entering into a conversation from a place of inquiry rather than being merely an information giver or seeker.
Positive Questions Open Us Up
Positive questions amplify the opportunity to connect to what we value about ourselves and the best of situation, even if the situation itself is not particularly positive. We talked about choice points and how we frame situations. Even in tragedy and disaster, if we are intentional, we can inquire into something that will help lift us from feeling utterly lost and hopeless. Human resiliency can be strengthened through mishap and misfortune. At a basic level, positivity opens us up to other possibilities. We listen better, we act with greater kindness. We have more expansive and inclusive thoughts when we experience positive emotions.
I shared personal stories of how I came to an awareness of human greatness through my early career of teaching English as a Second Language to immigrants who had come to settle in Australia, seeking asylum or a better life for themselves and their children. During that time, it came to me that language is a tool of empowerment. Without the language of a culture (and it can be a corporate culture), there’s the likelihood you may not feel you can be in your full power.
Therefore, language itself, the words we use – how we talk to ourselves and others – is a key means to accessing our greatness zone.
Here is a case study that illustrates…
How Appreciative Inquiry (AI) was adopted by a very large corporation and mobilized the participants to create the initiatives themselves, collaborate on making them happen and taking the plans and process forward to sustain positive changes for the future.