There is no such thing as "just asking"

My mother-in-law is one of the most caring people I know. And she is always willing to help. Not that she tells us what to do. She would never do that.

She just occasionally asks:

“Have you ever thought about doing some gardening?” Or, “Wouldn’t it be nice with some clean dish towels?”

And she always adds: “I’m just asking.”

Just asking?


Well, I’m certainly not going to change my dish towels just because my mother-in-law asks me to.

Even though she’s probably right: I should do some more cleaning. And some gardening.

In my TED Talk from 2019, I show how questions prevent us from listening to each other's experiences, insights and ideas.

The talk is titled "What you don't know about questions" - because most people have never thought about the huge impact questions have on our daily communication and collaboration.

Like my mother-in-law they think they are "just asking".

But there is no such thing.

Think about it:

When was the last time someone asked you a question that had absolutely no impact on what happened next?

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