A bolt of insight hit me the other day. I just noticed when someone asks you “why did you….” that they are asking you a “set-up” question. Regardless of your answer you’re going to be wrong. You might be thinking that they are inquiring as to why you did something. Nope, for me they are setting me up. Why did you give the dog chips? Well he looked hungry – Wrong answer. Why did you get to the office now? Well the traffic was busy – Wrong answer.
So make a list of “set-up” questions that you get asked. It’s quite easy, just think of what “inquiry vocabulary” is used in a typical question where your answer gets derision.
So now you know the set-up questions. My bolt of insight has revealed that there are only 2 responses to a set-up question. If you can ignore it then that’s gold. Yep just listen and identify the set-up question and then let it pass you by. Don’t even whimper a sound. Allow the set-up question to march by and watch it march over the cliff.
If ignoring the set-up question isn’t an option, then you need to be strategic. You need to disarm the question with your own question. You can’t get into trouble as you’re only asking a question.
Why did you give the dog chips
Why do you ask
Why did you get to the office now
What time is it now
Your question asking buys you some scurry time. You also get an insight into the context of the annoyance. You’re still in that wonderful place before derision and judgement.
So I’ll leave you with a few set up questions to start your training.
Why is your report late
Why are you meeting the client interstate and not here
Why did you not bring the washing in
Why are your friends coming to our house tomorrow evening
Why don’t you answer my questions