Here is a brief excerpt from a must-read article by Shane Snow, featured by The Freelance Strategist. To read the complete article and check out the wealth of resources, please click here.
Image via Stuck in Customs / Flickr.com
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I’ve recently been doing a bit of research on space exploration. The hunt has inevitably led me to stories about SpaceX founder (and billionaire genius) Elon Musk, a man whose mission to colonize Mars has led to the development of self-landing rockets, among other innovations over the last few years.
In the course of geeking out about such rocketry, I stumbled across two Musk interviews that inadvertently illustrate one of the biggest conversational mistakes — and missed opportunities — I see people make every day. Coincidentally, they’re both by men named Rose: Kevin Rose, founder of Digg and partner at Google Ventures, and Charlie Rose, the veteran PBS/CBS interview host. Each had the chance to interview one of today’s most fascinating innovators, but one of them succeeded in a slightly more enlightening (and less awkward) interview.
The difference was in the questions they asked, and specifically how they asked them. See if you can spot what’s going on:
Kevin: What led you into entrepreneurship? Was it something that you always knew that you wanted to be, an entrepreneur on your own? Or did you stumble into it?
Charlie: What are you doing in terms of planetary exploration?
Kevin: Where do you come up with your best ideas? Are you on vacation, or do you wake up in the middle of the night and draw things down?
Charlie: How did you go about the design?
Kevin: When did you decide to get into computers and technology? Did you start coding? Or was it a lot of…?
Charlie: What do you think?
Can you guess which interview went better?
You can see the interviews for yourself here and here if you’re interested (this snippet about global warming here is fantastic). But you probably won’t be surprised when I tell you that Charlie Rose’s interview was more interesting, and came across as significantly more professional. The man is great at asking questions and getting out of the way; he uses short, open-ended questions when he wants elaboration, and short, yes-or-no questions when he wants to be pointed.
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The remainder of the article offers outstanding advice on how to become, almost immediately, a much more effective communicator. Included are links to invaluable resources.
Here is a direct link to the complete article.