How One Question Sparks Engagement

People aren’t engaged because the questions they hear are dull.

Easy questions:

If you’re on my team, you’re committed to constant improvement. Meetings always include, “What can we do better next time?”

I have a Feeler on my team. It’s safe to ask him:

  1. What should we do?
  2. What’s working?
  3. What could be better?

An engaging question:

When I asked the Feeler on my team, “How do you want people to feel?” He started to give a quick knee-jerk answer. Then he paused.

I didn’t fill the silence.

He started again.

When he heard the right question, his face turned sober. He looked down. His shoulders dropped a little. The question felt heavy.

We waited while he reflected. He stumbled for a response. Then he said something wonderful.

“I need to think about this.”


The bigger context of the above question is turning people toward the future. I’m particularly interested in how he wants people to feel about themselves and the future.

Next week:

Next week I’ll ask again, “How do you want people to feel?”

The follow up is, “What might you do that sparks those emotions?”

Tips on powerful questions:

Don’t ask Doers what to start. Doers are finishers, not starters. Once a Doer is committed to an idea, ask them for a plan.

Don’t ask Dreamers how to finish. Dreamers are starters, not finishers. Ask Dreamers for options. “What might we try?”

People feel engaged when you take their perspective and approach them through their lens.


What questions lower engagement or invite resistance?

What questions spark engagement?