A crazy question with massive mileage

Years ago, I was out to dinner with the Chairman of the Board for a client.

At the time, I asked a question to our restaurant waiter that the Chairman found to be unique. The next time I met with the client's Chairman he said to me, "Eugene I've been using your crazy question when my wife and I go out and the stories have been non-stop entertainment, thank you!"

With the new year and new opportunities upon us, we find ourselves in the company of others. Allow me to share a simple question that is anything but boring. The "question" also has a fantastic ability to bring out the best and most humorous responses.

Here's my crazy question (and variation).

If with family and friends:

"What's the most interesting thing you've done since we last spoke?"

If you're out and about at a restaurant (used by the Chairman when out to dinner with his wife):

"What's the most interesting thing that's happened to you while working here?"

I immediately follow up the question with, "please share something funny or interesting, nothing depressing." This helps eliminate 99% of negative responses. Also, you'll have to gauge the personality of the person you're talking to.

In the last 15 years I've used the question(s) above hundreds of times and not a single person has refused to answer. Even better, most of the answers are surprising, inspiring, and laugh out loud hilarious.

In today's non-stop world of tech, something as simple as sharing a story can brighten someone else's day and yours. Give it a whirl and let me know how it works.

Top Articles of 2007 . . .

All the Best
Below you will find a series of top articles from 2007 selected by my blog readers. Thank you to all the readers, reviewers, and the people good enough to give their time for interviews. I trust that the information below and on the other sections of this blog will be helpful to you in the coming year. I'm looking forward to sharing some great information with everyone in the New Year. Here's wishing everyone "All the Best" in 2008!

Top Reader Selected Articles

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The Audio Learning Advantage: Plug in and Learn

Over the last few weeks I've been doing a respectable amount of traveling. My last adventure brought me to Connecticut for the Thanksgiving holiday.  During my six hour drive I rediscovered the usefulness of learning new material from audio books. The best part about audio learning is when someone else's insight serves as the catalyst you need to solve a business problem or develop a new idea. Are you using audio programs to learn something new?

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Moving Forward with Your Ideas

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I had a brief discussion with one of my good friends regarding a business idea he started to develop earlier this year. His idea revolved around helping recent college and business school graduates quickly find a good job.

My friend decided to put his idea on the back burner over the summer. During our discussion I asked him why he hadn't returned to pursuing his idea, his ironic explanation,"I don't think I know enough about the subject area." I personally believe that he knows a great deal about the subject area and he comes off as being knowledgeable and helpful with his target market. I couldn't give him grief about not moving forward with his idea because I was guilty of doing the same thing with my own ideas.

Over the years I've learned two important lessons when it comes to implementing your ideas. First, don't wait to become an expert. Second, better to launch first and figure out improvements later.

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How To Remember and Use Your Ideas

When is the last time you had a really great idea and a few minutes later it disappears from your memory? For many people this is a regular occurrence.  Our mind is bombarded with thousands of sights and sounds on a daily basis.  To remember a quick idea can be a daunting task.  The shame of the matter is that it’s the small things that can make a big difference.

Back to Basics
Start by finding a pen and a small notepad. Make sure both are compact enough to carry along with you on a daily basis.  Moving forward, keep a pen and notepad with you at all times. When you have an idea, write it down in the notepad.  Don’t discriminate.  Too many people discount their own ideas for a number of reasons. Every idea no matter how insignificant could potentially lead to something great.

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