When I say “interviewing,” most people think of prospecting for jobs, but interviewing has a far greater context. Interviewing is a key managerial skill, a tool to elicit feedback and information from others. If they do it right, managers will “interview” people every day to learn about their needs, problems, solutions and emotions.

Two current leadership “hot topics” are Emotional Intelligence and Human-Centered Design. Both involve components of empathy – gaining an understanding of others – which can be done through interviewing — consulting with others, asking questions and listening to the response.

I believe that a good interview addresses questions about “what is” but also draws observations and inquiries about “what isn’t” – reading between the lines to discover what is eluded to but left unsaid.

Yesterday’s dot was inspired by a loan officer interviewing me not only about finances but also about my favorite leadership concept. I interviewed the students in my class last night to discover their learning objectives for the course. I’ll be interviewed by clients to see if my training style fits their needs and I’ll interview them to learn what they really hope to accomplish from the session even if they can’t yet articulate it themselves.

As a journalism major, the art of good interviewing was highlighted in all of our courses but I believe it should be part of everyone’s curriculum. Learning how to craft insightful questions and seeking to understand what is/isn’t said are skills that would increase civility and benefit far more than just reporters. Try to practice your interviewing skills today by asking someone a powerful question that makes them stop and think.

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