Professional Curiosity

Image: curiousgeorge.com/curiosity-day

Like many a small child, I loved the thought of an adventure. One of my favorite characters was ‘Curious George’ – Yes, there is a resemblance so let’s just get that out of the way.

For me, the word curious is linked to discovery.

Curiosity + Discovery = Adventure

My first career as a young adult was in the field of respiratory therapy. Suddenly, because I was viewed as a professional, it was acceptable to ask questions. In fact, it was expected. Delving into someone’s personal health history is extremely confidential, and if approached in a conversational manner, it will often lead to a life story.

This early experience in questioning served me well in my investment career. I would often coach my investment representatives that we were paid to be professionally curious.

Rather than just gathering a financial profile and presenting facts and figures, it was important to let the client share their story.

Questioning, listening and life stories are the foundation of the human experience. If you want to connect with others on a professional and/or personal level, start by asking a question.

Know there is a huge difference between interrogation and questioning. Interrogation is “just the facts ma’am.” What can I learn to “establish rapport” to close a sale? What’s in it for me? Interrogation is just plain creepy and uncomfortable.

Questioning and sharing is conversational and based on a genuine interest in others, their thoughts and their perspective. Questioning leads to understanding; understanding leads to adding value.

Incidentally, my favorite question when meeting someone?

“Have you [folks] lived in the area long?”

“Yes” – Oh my, you must have seen quite a few changes!
“No” – Oh, what brought you here?
Ask, and ye shall receive. Let the stories and the adventure begin!

So what say you?

Previously published on LinkedIn

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