When communicating an idea or recommendation, it is essential to check in. However, it’s “how” you do it that makes all the difference. Can you ask “Am I right?” No. That’s not appropriate…well…pretty much ever!
You can, though, when you are speaking with a direct report, client or colleague, ask relational check-in questions.
Asking Relational Questions
Relational questions provide you with an opportunity to see if your recommendation is resonating with your target audience. It also provides a stopping point during which your client or direct report can provide input, which gives you insight into where their head is during the conversation.
Examples of some relational questions are:
Do you see how this idea can help you this year?
From what we’ve just covered how do you see this fitting in with your overall strategy?
Is this idea on strategy?
The Importance of Checking In
Checking in is very important. It accomplished two goals. One, it illustrates you’re concerned about your client’s understanding and accepting of your idea early on in the communication. Two, it shows you have the confidence to ask for their alignment at the start of your communication.
Too often in meetings, I have observed people checking in during the last five minutes of a presentation versus at the beginning, middle and then the end.
You can’t fix a misunderstanding during the eleventh hour of your presentation You can when you uncover it at the start.
Be sure at the start of your presentation to ask for agreement that you have captured the primary goal of your client along with their stated challenges before you present your idea.