yearlong experimentI conducted an experiment for one year (although with humans, not guinea pigs). The goal was to not answer people’s questions directly, but to first ask, “What do you think?” I would listen, summarize without evaluating or interpreting. Then I’d invite them to say more: “What else?” I’d refrain from giving any input until I’d exhausted their thinking.

The findings? A stunning 70% of the time, people came up with their own perfectly fine answers without any input from me. Even more surprising: after they had answered their own question, about half of the time they would thank me for my input, but I had given no input whatsoever. I responded to their question with, “What do you think?” and then I listened and unpacked their own thinking.

It was a fascinating experiment. Simply by listening, you can help people solve their own problems about 70% of the time. It did make me wonder how rare real listening actually is.

Why don’t you try this experiment for 30 days and let me know what a difference it makes?