Narrow questions = narrow results

I've been answering tons of questions outside work recently, mostly from MBA students about recruiting with Google/other tech companies. Most have general-ish questions, though the conversations typically seem to come back to similar themes.

The other day, I ended up speaking with someone who seemed to have done everything they ask you to do before getting into a meeting. He was well-prepared, knew exactly what to ask, and did so quickly and efficiently. It was my shortest phone-call.

I should have been happy with that, except I felt bad for him. I had probably given him less advice and information than anyone else I'd talked to. He had been so focussed in his questioning, he'd made it impossible for me to add stuff to the conversation, and give him more information.

The moral of the story: Always be prepared and stick to a script for a meeting if you have one. However, always be willing to deviate from that script or go with the flow. Chances are thats where you'll get the best information.

Comments

Josekin said…
In consultant speech, we call those data gaps. The call has to be succinct to save time (mostly ours). You fill the gaps and it's a job well done. That's probably what you did for him.

I always ask a very general question at the end concerning the topic that we just covered to see if there are some more insights that the person is willing to share. But first things first: fill them data gaps.

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