Two weeks ago, my husband and I took the opportunity to sign up for an Indian meal cooked by a travelling Indian chef, who was in Budapest for a few days. Hmmm…looked good, something different, we are curious. We both arrived to the venue, from different locations and plunged into a very cool indoor covered courtyard with long tables, dim lights, hanging heaters and 2 long tables. The dinner was seated and we found our places across from each other surrounded by new faces. Within minutes, the first course arrived and we were each having conversations with our neighbours. We talked left of us, right, across and diagonally and everyone was asking questions. There was lots of laughter and exchanges of cards, including some business leads. A stimulating dinner.
Last week, I had another opportunity to return to the same venue with the same set-up but a Literary Dinner with two authors/journalists from Moscow invited to talk about “Where is Russia going?” Being of Russian origin and having lived and worked in Moscow for most of the 90’s, I was really looking forward to hearing their views and I did not want to miss this event at all.
The two authors began by each reading a passage from their recently published books, both on Russia and Putin. A couple of questions were asked and we were told that a moderated discussion would take place after dinner. To my surprise, they both took their seats across from me and I felt honoured to have an opportunity for a more intimate conversation before they returned to the podium.
I chose to speak English, as my neighbours on either side of me did not speak Russian. I began asking the Russians some questions, and little reaction from either. Immediately I was aware that my neighbours turned to their other neighbours. I asked again some questions and little reaction. Odd, I thought to myself. Maybe they are tired but then again, this is their job and this event was arranged through their Publisher. So once more, I engaged in conversation, shared with them that I lived in Moscow, thought I would switch into Russian, mentioned that my cousin, a well known journalist, was shot dead in Moscow in 2004…hardly a blink from them. Not a stimulating dinner.
Curiosity is what made the difference between my two dinners. The Indian dinner was filled with curious minds, questions, exchanging thoughts, laughs and sharing opinions, which lead to a fun, animated dinner. The Russian dinner was monotone, little expressions or emotions, limited questions, little reactions, which led to zero interest from any of my neighbours and discreet dismissals from the table, including myself.
How did I feel? At first disappointed as I had expectations, then frustrated that I was not getting anywhere in the conversation and finally calm, as I knew that my curiosity and I did not miss an opportunity.
Curiosity is a talent, like intuition and listening. Not everyone has that gift, however, through awareness and practice, curiosity can grow, both at home and at work.
How do you value curiosity? What impact does curiosity or lack of curiosity have on you?
Powerful questions are questions that make the other stop and think. Literally. Usually, there is a “hmmm” and silence. These powerful questions are unexpected and thought provoking leading the person to look inside or into the future, discovering a new perspective. This is one of the most powerful tools in Life Coaching, which has integrated naturally in my everyday life. They can be used in your professional life, as well, as in your personal life. How you ask a question is vital to the answer you will receive. Become aware of how you ask questions and notice the impact it has.
1) Closed Questions: usually can be answered by a “yes” or “no”, you will not get very far:
As oppose to questions beginning with “what” or “how”…
2) WHY Questions: immediately, the other person feels on the defensive (even children and teens). They feel they need to explain, justify, protect themselves:
3) Implications: these are questions that imply an answer:
Your inquiring mind can ask:
4) Keep it short: Keep your questions short and to the point:
5) One question at a time: too many questions and the person cannot focus and answer properly.
“ So what did she say? Did she like your proposal? Now what? When do you meet again?”
” How did she react to your proposal?” (Silence). “Will you meeting again as a follow-up?”
Asking is a talent, like curiosity, intuition and listening. Not everyone has that gift, however, through awareness and practice, you can learn to ask powerful questions!
“As a Life Coach from Budapest, you need to make a video of yourself for your website,” some of my mentors suggested. Producing a compelling Life Coaching video is daunting. “People like to connect and they need to see who you are and how you sound before thinking of hiring some Life Coaching from Budapest.”
I postponed the idea till my Life Coaching website was done and even my web designer said, “you know what would be good on your website, a video of you speaking.” OK, got the message.
Being photographed for my website was already a hurdle, as I do not like having my picture taken at all, especially if the focus is only on me. I did not want make-up, nor a hair stylist nor a special dress code. I wanted to be me, natural and authentic. You like me how I am or you don’t, not very marketing like I know.
The thought of making a Life Coaching video, already gave me knots in my stomach and sweaty palms. I have never done this and speaking into a camera so close up appeals to me even less, let alone to know that I can be exposed to the whole world – I cherish privacy. I found a young team who guided me through the steps, advised me on my delivery, my content and my timing and I bit the bullet, completely stepping out of my comfort zone.
For my 1:07 min video, we filmed for less than 3 hours. As much as I knew my script, I had a hard time to focus, breathe, speak slowly, and simply remember my lines as I felt anxious and vulnerable. The team was great and patient and finally it was done. The final product came out well and although I may appear natural and give the impression I have done this before, it was a challenge! In fact, it was so challenging, that I decided to also add my Bloopers to my website, in a separate video, to show viewers that it was not easy, that no one is perfect and that we all make mistakes.
Most importantly, have fun with it. Here are my Bloopers and for a more serious video on my Life Coaching from Budapest, just go to my HOME page.
(c) 2017 Anna Jankovich, all rights reserved.