• James Walton

"Something Else" vs "Anything Else"

How do you get the feedback you need to lead more effectively? How can you get your directs to surface the issues that are important to them?

Focus on the specific words you use.

For instance, when concluding a one on one with a direct, I'll often say, "Is there anything else?" The subtext here is that the agenda is complete and the meeting is done. "Anything else" is a token gesture that signals 'wrap it up.' Unless your direct is preternaturally forward, they're unlikely come over the top of this with a "Well, actually..."

Instead, say, "Is there something else on your mind?" The subtext here is that you're expecting a something else, and the direct is given an open pathway to introduce a new subject. Combine this with calm body language and a pleasant expression, and you're more likely to see your direct surface something of significance to them.

When a study was done of doctors looking to get more information from their patients, researchers found that asking "anything else" was as effective as saying nothing at all. However, when doctors used "something else", 90% of their patients raised a concern.

Next time you're in a meeting with a direct, ask: "Is there something else on your mind?"


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