The website Fast Company has a great article on how to ask better questions and there are a lot of great takeaways (make sure you read the article to fully get the impact).
I have seen the first problem with questions all too often. People tend to ask multiple questions at once and you can only answer one at a time. In the skeptical community it is similar to “the Gish Gallop”, where there are too many things to answer. In my own experience I had a manager, John Slater, who was great at training you how to ask only one question at a time by simply stating “I will answer you last question first, and if we have time we will go back through the others”.
The other item I was trained in early on was getting comfortable with the silence. A great salesperson I worked with, Gail Mercer-McKay, would prep me before sales calls that she was going to ask a question and that it would become very uncomfortable as you wait for the answer. I was directed, rightly, not to say anything, but to let the person think through the question fully so they could answer. It was a difficult lesson to learn, however it paid dividends. One sales meeting we went to Gail had pre-warned me to let the silence linger when she asked the question. It felt like minutes ticking by. Dead silence. Finally the VP we were meeting with spoke up and we won the deal.
Finally, don’t fish. The quote from the article by Clive Thompson is spot on “The really ‘bad’ questions are leading ones — the questions where you’re fishing for a particular answer.”
Google has been in talks to get into the wireless business. This would really shake the market up, just like they have with getting into providing internet. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google had discussions with the Dish Network to partner with them to provide cellular services, competing with AT&T and others in the US market. The Canadian wireless market is in turmoil for multiple reasons, but one of the primary reasons is a CRTC decision to allow more foreign investment to try and bring our prices more in line with the other developed countries. If Google were to come to Canada, this could have some severe repercussions for the incumbent providers, forcing them to improve services and drop prices. Stay tuned.
After the CRTC quashed their attempt at buying Astral earlier this year, BCE is apparently going back for more. The CBC is reporting that the two companies are trying to make it work in a way that will satisfy regulators and will be mutually beneficial to them. BCE is trying to add more content providing to their customers, similar to their deal with Rogers to buy Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE). The communications companies in Canada, with the exception of Telus so far, have been trying to bolster their bottom lines through the addition of content providers.
Well Apple fired the first shot across the bows of the major carriers when they offered iPhone 4s users the ability to send SMS like messages utilizing the iMessage app, thus depriving the carriers the huge profits they have been generating off of SMS. Now it seems that RIM is doing the same thing with the Blackberry and voice. Same technology as Facetime, really, but it does allow for you to utilize your wifi to make calls.
Sample screen from the new BBM voice call application.
Suck It, Carriers: BBM 7 Lets BlackBerry Users Talk for Free