In our business, every week, something new happens that we didn’t expect. This week, we’ve been dealing with a series of what I’d call ’forensic’ questions. Questions about language nuances.

Questions that generate more questions until it’s hard to know if we’ll ever stop talking about what we’re questioning. And it makes us mindful to keep asking what it is we’re trying to find out. For the simple reason that it’s really easy to lose sight of the overall objective in these situations and become defensive and close ranks.

The option of avoiding a tricky conversation is always tempting. But actually, for us, this is where our job becomes even more interesting. Not because of what we hear necessarily but because of what we learn. This week I learned that behind every question, more often than not, there lurks a fear. Sometimes it’s a fear of being exposed. Sometimes it’s a fear that what we find out will jeopardise what it is we want to achieve. And sometimes it’s all about reassurance. Our clients want to know they are right and want the insight to prove it.

So if you listen without prejudice to quote the most excellent late George Michael, you will learn new truths. You will always learn something you didn’t expect. And those new truths will help you understand people better and give you confidence that it is alright to challenge a point of view. It is just not alright to be quiet and say nothing because a quiet fear is wrestling with your mind.

So be brave. Speak up. Keep listening.

Imogen Osborne, Co-Founder, Question and Retain