We live in the midst of a crisis of listening. Most men don’t listen well enough, so if you choose to, you boost your value. The crisis of listening presents an opportunity for you to boost your value. Show up and be deliberate and you’ll be more valuable.

Open-ended questions are those that don’t have a yes or no answer. Here are some examples.

“How would you describe (whatever you are discussing)?” Or, “I notice you mentioned how much you enjoy swimming. Can you tell me more about that?”

Yes or no questions are questions like, “Will you be joining us?” or “Did you like that book?”

A Set Up is when you frame a question then ask it. For example, “We have been discussing the importance of rotating your tires regularly. As a former racing engineer, can you comment, please?” This communicates that you want his opinion and that you respect him. Importantly, it begs a detailed response. After you have asked a question in this way, listen patiently, listen carefully, and listen aggressively.

Call to action: Today, look for three opportunities to ask questions the listener can’t answer with a yes or a no. Ask “Why?” questions, “How?” questions, or any other form of question that encourages the listener to speak a little longer and open up a little more. Once you have asked an open ended question, listen for what you asked about. Be deliberate and listen aggressively.