The second strategy it's the notion of asking rather than telling. And to talk about this different idea, allowing for agency in a sense by asking questions rather than making statements. I want to talk about a completely different domain, and that is a test prep company. Nafeez Amin is a guy who co-owns a company called Sherpa Prep. It's a test prep and admission consulting company in Washington DC. They run things like GMAT and GRE courses. And for more than a decade, they've helped thousands of different students get into some of the best graduate programs in the country. But earlier on Nafeez noticed a particular problem that came up again and again. Very simply, he get a room full of smart students. On the first day, he'd invite them to take the course and participate. But at the end, they didn't do as well as they'd hoped because they weren't study enough. They thought they only need to study a couple hours, a week, here and there, rather than at least 100 or sometimes even 200 hours they need to put in to get the scores to help them do well. Many came in thinking that they had destroyed the SAT or they done really well on tests in the past, but this wasn't the SAT anymore. This was a completely different pool. Wasn't high school of some of the smartest students in the country trying to get in the best graduate programs in the world. And when Nafeez tried to tell students that they need to study more, all he got back were blank stares. Students either didn't believe him or they were so overwhelmed by the number of hours he said they need to study, that they dropped out, that they didn't take the course. Came across pretty harsh on the first day. Who's this guy who have never even met before to tell may need to study ten times more than I thought I needed to? And so, he would poke them, and prod them, and try to encourage them to study more. But he realized there was a actually different approach that worked a little bit better. Instead of telling students what they needed to do, Nafeez started asking instead. Asking, for example, what they wanted. Next time he took a class, he started out by asking, well, why are you here? What's your goal? Why are you taking the GMAT in the first place? He didn't tell them anything. He started with a couple questions. And the students responded, I want to get into a top business school. I really want to get into Stanford or Wharton or Harvard or MIT or some other place. He started them thinking about why they were there in the first place. And then, he asked them another question. Okay, well, do you know what it takes to get into a place like that? And one student said, I've got to get a 720. Another student said, I got to get 750, said another. The group started having a conversation. Some students didn't know what they needed, and some students didn't know how difficult it was to get that score. They inquired about how many people take the test, and how many get high scores, and what they needed to get into a particular place. And at the end of this conversation, when Nafeez threw out that 300 hour number, everyone listened. Because by the end of that discussion, they had participated, they had felt like they had play a role in the process, and they were much more bought into the outcome. And by the end of that discussion, students ended up studying more than three times the amount they said they were going to initially. Because questions do a couple of things. First, like providing a menu, it shifts the listener's role. Rather than counterarguing, I'm sitting there, and Nafeez is telling me I need to study more, and thinking about all the reasons I disagree with what he's suggesting, I have a different job. Now, I have a different task. I've got to figure out the answer to the question. Well, what do I want to do? How highest score do I need? What schools do I want to get into? How I feel about my opinion, something I'm more than happy to articulate? But second, and more importantly, questions increase by-in. Because while I might not always want to follow someone else's lead, I'm very happy to follow my own. And the answer to the question isn't just an answer, if I have given you an answer to the question, it's my answer. It's my own answer. And because it's people's own personal answer reflecting their own personal thoughts and opinions and beliefs, that answer is much more likely to drive them to action. Because what questions do is they encourage listeners to commit to the conclusion. To behave consistently to whatever answer they gave. If I say I want to get a 720 or a 750, and now you tell me I need to study a certain number of hours to get there, I've already put a stake in the ground. It's harder for me to budge. I was talking to someone else who gave me a great example of this. They worked at a start-up, and the boss wanted them to work long hours. And that was his goal, to get them to work long hours. But he realized if he told them directly, you guys need to work long hours, they wouldn't be as willing to do it. So instead he did something interesting. He had a meeting, and he asked people, what company do we want to be? Do we want to be a good company or a great company? Now, you all know how do people answer that question. No one goes, yeah, we want to be an okay company. Everybody goes, no, we want to be a great company. And then he says, okay, well, to be a great company, we need to work harder, and that means working on the weekend. Now, everybody has committed to being a great company. It's a lot harder to go back and say, well, I don't want to do that thing that will help me get to that goal. By having them put a stake in the ground and committing to the conclusion, now, you've enabled them to see how your path, what you wanted them to do initially, is the right way to get there. They've bought into that conclusion, and because of that, they're much more likely to go along. And so, rather than pushing to start, start by asking questions. Not only does it allow you to gather information about the problem in the first place, which will help you be more likely to get them to change. But it also gets them to buy into the conclusion. It gets them to commit to where you wanted them to go on all along, and gets them to be more likely to do it at the end of the day. Ask, don't tell.