WHAT YOU SAY WHEN SOMEONE COMPLAINS: A MAGIC QUESTION

MAGIC QUESTIONS “WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE THIS RIGHT?”

By Gene Griessman, Ph.D.
When you receive a complaint, here’s a formula that almost always changes the tone of the interaction.

First, listen attentively to the complaint, and do not interrupt except to ask for a relevant fact, or perhaps for permission to make notes about the complaint. When the complainer finishes, ask, “What can I do to make this right?”

Just asking this question changes the complaint into a problem-solving exercise.

After asking the question, do not volunteer an answer. Wait attentively until the other person tells you what he or she wants. You often will be surprised at how little someone with a grievance asks for—if you use the magic question, and wait.

This could be because they are shocked that you actually gave them a chance to tell what they want. Occasionally, someone will ask for something unreasonable. If that happens, reply, “I certainly want to do something. I’m not sure I will be able to do that. However, this is something that we can do.” Then specify a reasonable alternative that presents a win-win for both sides.

Don’t restrict the use of the magic question to business situations. It works beautifully in social settings, too.

Excerpt from Gene Griessman, 99WAYS TO GET MORE OUT OF EVERY DAY, Step 84.   To download of this valuable resource, call 404-256-5927 or click www.presidentlincoln.com/ProductOrderForm.html

Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and communication strategist. His book “TheWords Lincoln Lived By” is in its 23rd printing and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” is in its 43rd printing. His training video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions and annual meetings all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, call 404-435-2225. Learn more at Atlanta Speakers Bureau or at his website. His latest book “Lincoln and Obama” has just been released by Audible.
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