Tell Me More
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
As a form of asking a question, “why” is the queen. Asking for why demonstrates a curious mind at work. We expect a question with a “why” to prompt inquiry. Five whys is a popular iterative interrogative technique to explore causes behind effects. But when dealing with people, “tell me more” is a more powerful way of inquiry than asking for “why.”
Try this next time you want to know why someone did something in a certain way. Instead of asking
Hi, I noticed such and such about this thing. Why so?”
Hi, I noticed such and such about this thing. Can you tell me more?
There is a subtle but important difference between these two. I won’t tell which one does what to the listener, but one of these forms makes the listener want to protect themselves (imagine the listener wrapping their arms around themselves). In contrast, the other makes the listener open up (imagine the listener opening up their arms relaxed).
Try it out. Replace “why” with “tell me more.” Find the difference?