How do your conversations start?  Do You Ask, or Do You Tell?


How do we present ourselves to be able to communicate to others on any level?  Our relationships are the key to our success, and our general satisfaction, in the workplace, online, Social Media, on the phone or anywhere that there is communication between people.  



Humble Inquiry is the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not already know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity  and interest in the other person.”    Edgar Schein



Being in a people to people industry we need to know how to keep our brain performing in a way to communicate with others and be able to see things on the same level.   Let me share with you thoughts I discovered from a training I sat in on.  It was presented by Eva Marquette from a FreshVUE.    



Has our conversations changed  as time goes on?  When I was young, mind you we did have television, but there were no computers.  When we talked to someone it was to pick up the phone and call, go see them in person or write a letter.   

 Master Course

People are still looking for that conversation, they want to meet people and catch up with the gossip.  How can I know this?  Look around at all the social networks out there.  You have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Buffer, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, etc.; then there are quick messages like Hangouts, Messenger, and the list goes on.


But how we talk to others is the focus that we need to tune ourselves into today. 


This is where I am turning my focus; on being a better communicator and coach, which in turn will help me become a better listener, and an overall humble person.



Are you uncertain when you arrive at a conversation?


Letting ourselves get caught up in the moment or how you approach different circumstances will depend on how the outcome lays out before you.  When you are talking with a friend are you different than talking with a stranger.


We sometimes tend to put up defensive patterns when uncertainty sets you between distrust and trust.    What these patterns do is build up mental blocks, and it limits us on being able to reach out to others.  The empathy is blocked by our own brain.  Here are some things we tend to be thinking about at those times.


How does the group think

We have to Be right all the time

Status Quo

Wanting power over others

Protecting your turf


Yet trust will change your reality.  Different mindsets will  put up different defenses.  Which area of the brain are we to use when faced with reality?  Are you:



Far Sighted

Short Sighted


Near Sighted


That will depend on which area of the brain we tend to use and knowingly want to use.


[tweet_box design=”box_07″]Are You Far sighted, Short Sighted or Near Sighted[/tweet_box]


Where do Conversations begin in your Brain


Let’s dig down in the the brain a little more; first before we get into how to choose what we want to use.   These are the main three areas of the brain where our thoughts and actions come from.   You have the Executive State, the Emotional State, and the Survival State.



  1. Executive State:   The pre-frontal lobes, your forehead.  This is the area that is confident and where things are that we can learn.  
  2. Emotional State:  This is the middle brain.  The questions will sit here.  I am Loved?
  3. Survival State:   This is the brain stem.    This is where your fear lives.   The feeling that you need to be safe and you really don’t trust anything.



Many get stuck in this area not knowing that the brain chooses where to put your Trust and Distrust.  We will see how we can grow and strengthen the brain, just like any other muscle.  Let’s distinguish the difference between distrust and trust.



Distrust:  The brain sees the reality through threats and fear and closes down.  It:


Reveals less

Expects more

Assumes the worst

Looks with caution

Interprets with fear

Tells secrets

The Yes people just to get out of it.


Then when the mindset is shifted and you are aware, we begin to Trust.  The reality is clear and open to engage.  It:


Expects less and over delivers

Assumes the Best

Looks with an open heart

Tells the truth (no need to hide)

Yes to confronting the truth.


Now that you are aware of where these parts of your thinking live in your brain, let’s learn how to use them.   


“Humility.  Not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less”  C.S. Lewis



Do you ask or do you tell?  This post will help with that.  Do you exercise your Brain?

Humble Inquiry


“Communication is essential in a healthy organization. But all too often when we interact with people—especially those who report to us—we simply tell them what we think they need to know. This shuts them down. To generate bold new ideas, to avoid disastrous mistakes, to develop agility and flexibility, we need to practice Humble Inquiry”   Edgar Schein






To allow yourself to get to your humble state, we need to know the different kinds of Humility.


  1. How we feel around elders and dignitaries:    Are we feeling inferior or not up to their level.   Are you not the expert that you think you are.
  1.  How you feel in the presence of others who awe us with their achievements:  When others brag does it turn you off or are you curious?   Is it a set back to you and makes you think that you could never do that or does it encourage you to make something of your own?
  2.  The Here and Now:    Which results from being dependent on others in order to accomplish tasks we are committed to.


“We are what we believe we are”   C.S. Lewis



Preparing your Humble Foundation


[tweet_box design=”box_02″]What keeps us balanced and ready to see?[/tweet_box]


Some call it a pedestal of reflection:   A tripod to keep our sight grounded and our willingness to accept.  There are three legs:  Openness, Observation, and Objectivity.


Openness is the willingness to accept what is around you.

Observation helps us keep track of what is in the moment.

Objectivity helps you take ownership of what is in your sight.



Now is the time to change our brain and prepare our foundation to be more open and humble towards other people.   Are we good listeners and do we adjust where our thoughts are in our brain cells?




“People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives” Michael Straczynski



I want to share three things that I am learning:


  1.   Learnable skill  —  taking the practical steps and applying them to grow on.
  2.   Changing your brain structure  —  developing a skill in mindset will actually change the physical structure of the brain enabling it to be stimulated and grow new connections.   Its being opened!
  3.  Connect with yourself better  —-  gain a better ability to connect with others.


What kind of focused attention allows us to see the internal workings of our own minds?   It is Mind Sight, Where you use not the senses, but eight to get a well rounded sense of what we are thinking and where our thoughts are coming from.


These senses help you:


Be clear

Be aware

Be open

Be peaceful



When we communicate and are in a relationship with others there are certain things that are required in order for them to work smoothly.


We need to learn how to be authentic, trusting in one another, cultivate a language you both can understand, have emotional maturity to know when to adjust your thinking and have a good self-reflection.


With those all balanced and you in tune with your brain, your communication skills will be helpful, compassionate, and respectful of the person you are talking with.   You will become a more active listener and do it with more heart.



P.S.  How do your conversations start?  Do You Ask, or Do You Tell?  This post was just a little of the training that I have.  When you are ready and really want to learn how to be a great communicator and Coach and make a great income doing it, then this is the place to be. Click here and start on the right track.


Find the loopholes that your life has had and draw them out.




others posts of interest:

Do you know the difference between a flashlight and a laser | Laser-focused

The Sound Of My Voice | Do You Hear What You Sound Like

Mindset Of A Good Leader | What Voice Are You Listening To

Brand Tagline | Attractive Slogan | What’s Your Punchline

Why Nobody Listens When I Talk | Shake Off The Dust

37 thoughts on “Do you Ask, Or Do you Tell? | Humble Inquiry To Conversations

  1. What an interesting analysis! I had no idea that you could break down conversations by brain function in that way. I think most people do “tell” instead of “ask”, when really, it’s the “asking” that promotes true conversation.

  2. Hello Sandy,

    This was fantastic. It is so interesting how our brain reacts in various situations depending on what our emotional status is. I agree that “telling people” verse “asking people” is key when dealing with staff and clients. I love empowering those around me to add to the conversation, my voice shouldn’t be the loudest simply because I am the boss. I believe that the best way to grow is by allowing each member to contribute their strength, which in turn means, I need to be able to ask and not tell at times.

  3. Interesting. I really don’t enjoy talking to people generally, but I do when I have to. I love talking to my family & friends, but not strangers.

  4. Never thought of all of these pieces and parts to a conversion! So much to consider and analyze about ourselves to keep growing!
    Karen |

    1. to be humble is harder for some then for others. It is our job to keep them that way. Turn the conversation into understanding and calm.

    1. Cool. You should reach out to me on facebook. I have a few more and I know a leader that just loves this stuff too.

  5. Wow! This is such a great post, Sandy. Thank you so much for sharing. It really made me stop & think and sometimes I really love blog posts like this. They are few and far between these days!

  6. Great post! I definitely have a tendency to ask a lot of questions when I’m meeting someone new. I like to try to get people to break out of their shell. The art of conversation needs to make a comeback.

    – Cait

    1. In my blogging quest, I have come across a lot of new conversations. It is coming back, and people are craving it.

    1. We need to ask more. We tend to get caught up in what we are doing and forget not everyone is on the same page.

  7. Wow, this is some very interesting and insightful information. I recently started my journey on personal growth and development and this is a great read for me as a lot of this information I did not know. Also, for someone like me who suffers from anxiety, it is helpful to be able to understand why anxious feelings can come up when starting of having conversations. Will be sharing this one!
    Sheri –

    1. Thank you Sheri, I am glad to hear the you are starting your journey. I have grown so much since I started mine. I have a great program for you if you need anymore help.

    1. I wish others thought that way. It seems like others think they know what is right for you and are quick to give there opinion.

    1. That is great, I never thought of the interview guidelines, Now I need to go back and read it differently myself.

    1. Friends are always different that bosses or strangers. It is wonderful that you have great friends.

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