I 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?