I do a lot of intro calls and chats. Despite being an introvert, I really do like meeting people. I’m a curious old boot, I suppose. And frankly, doing a lot of intro calls is essential when you’re self employed in a largely service-focused business.
Sometimes I’ll come to general 'get acquainted' introductory calls with a proper agenda, but more often than not I show up with just one question.
“What are you seeking?”
And more often than not, it throws them. I believe this happens for two reasons.
First, it’s a bit unusual as a framing. You need to do a little bit of mental gymnastics. It’s harder to answer than ‘what did you have for breakfast’ or ‘what time is it?’.
This makes sense. Gymnastics is hard (there's only one Simone Biles, after all). If there’s an excessively long silence or discomfort I’ll restate it in a slightly different way - like “what’s on your mind for next year?”, or “which parts of the business are you most focused on for the coming months?”. But I'll try and avoid this, for reasons I outline below.
The second reason? People often say they never get asked questions like this. I find this surprising. Actually, I find it baffling. Do people really never ask questions like this? Isn’t that a big part of what conversation is for - to learn about people, their motivations, story, interests, goals, needs? And arguably even more so in a business context?
Yet despite (or because of?) these two reasons for them being thrown out of whack, my ‘Seeking’ question nearly always unearths something interesting.
It starts to get to:
- What’s at the edge of the picture, that you can see but can’t reach?
- What - or often who - isn’t in your life right now?
- Where are you feeling depleted?
- Where’s your curiosity taking you?
- What’s missing?
But why this question, and more specifically this wording?
Me and a good friend and collaborator like to remind ourselves of something from time to time - especially when we're connecting with someone who has seemingly high status/wealth/power/influence.
Everyone’s seeking. Everyone.
And very few people ask them about it.