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Stop Asking Better Questions!

Stop Asking Better Questions!

It started out as a fun Friday Facebook post. A simple, incomplete sentence that read, “One thing that most people don’t know about me is…”.

I’m not sure what kind of reaction I expected to the post, but 193 comments later, I realized I was on to something BIG.

‘I once went for a walk in the forest with the Pope.’

‘I was trapped for 30 minutes in the motor compartment of a truck.’,

‘I got paid to wrestle a 400 lb Bengal tiger.’

mind blown







There was the guy who got hit by lightning…

The gal who almost drowned scuba diving…

And the other gal who got stranded on an ice-flow.

There was the young woman who spent 3 hours in prison, although she never did say for what …

The young man who spent a day in the morgue, and decided he didn’t want to become a doctor after all…

And the world-class photographer who spent 52 hours waiting for the Chinese government to give her permission to do her job.

There were folks who had worked with Hank Aaron…

Visited with Charles Bronson…

Chatted with Madonna and shared a beer with Terry Fox’s mom, Betty.

Asking good questions










There was a Jazz singer, a rock singer, a singer who sings at funerals, and the best darn Duran Duran, ‘in the kitchen, while I’m cooking’ singer in the world (at least according to her).

There was the presentation expert who had once danced with a Trinidadian carnival troupe – bikini, beads, feathers and all….

The retired spy who admitted he’s no longer allowed to drive in the UK… and the sales guru who confessed that she got kicked out of her Catholic boarding school 3 times by the age of 14.

A dancer who opened for the Beach Boys …

A freelance reporter who worked in war-torn Nicaragua …

An artist who danced with the Masai under a full eclipse of the moon …

And, believe it or not, ONE person with TWO near-death experiences.

Ask great questions of customers








And I could go on.

Each shared experience was a beautiful thread in a tapestry of stories woven together by a query that many of us have never been asked before, ‘One thing that most people know about me is …’

A question so enticing that in less than 24 hours, I had accumulated a treasure trove of insightfully delicious moments and memories that would otherwise have remained a mystery.

And that’s when it hit me.

We’ll never know what we don’t know if we keep asking the same darn questions!

Think about it.

In all aspects of our lives, we depend on answers to questions to help us discover the information we need to get the results that we want.

In the case of social media, what we want is engagement.

We want our questions to rise above the masses of posts begging for attention.

We want our questions to incite and inspire answers that – let’s be honest – not only honour those who respond but that also make us look smart and insightful.

And it’s not just on social media.

The internet abounds with lists of questions designed to drive high levels of engagement in just about any situation you can imagine. Everything from sales, recruiting and customer satisfaction to opt-ins, leave behinds and even difficult conversations with friends and family.

The problem is that everyone’s been using the same questions for years – a situation that results in lethally low engagement and/or pitifully predictable responses.

But ask a DIFFERENT question – one that is unexpected and catches folks off-guard – and BOOM. A gold rush of golden nuggets. 🏆🏆🏆

Look at it this way. In today’s information overload world, most people’s brains are like a computer set on ‘sleep-mode’. Their neurons are napping to preserve power and their brain cells are basically on cerebral stand-by because most of what they SEE and HEAR has been SEEN and HEARD before.

(No – I’m not a scientist but that’s my take on the situation and I’m sticking to it!)

Scientific research has proven, however, that our brains love surprises. And that the best way to snap someone’s cerebral cortex back to attention is to do something DIFFERENT. To do (or in this case, to ask) something so totally unexpected that it literally reboots their brain.  And it is in that moment – when the brain wakes up and smells the sweet scent of surprise – that there is a unique opportunity to discover something new.  Something that might NOT have been revealed had you asked the same questions that have been asked so many times before.

Something that you can use to create a deeper connection…

To design a more meaningful solution …

and to deliver more remarkable results.

Bottom line? Better questions may get you the answers you want but different questions will get you the answers you need.


What DIFFERENT and UNEXPECTED questions are YOU prepared to ask?

PS. So, as long as we’re asking, what’s one thing most people don’t know about you?


These Are a Few of My Favourites Things…

1. Coors Turns on the Light.

Remember Bud Light’s Super Bowl ads? The ones that took a pot-shot at both Coors and Miller for using corn syrup in their light beer? This week Coors Light fought back by creating the ‘Smart Taps’ experience in key locations around the country.

Sensors in the taps monitor social and broadcast media in real time and light up (Get it? Coors Light! Light up? Sigh….) whenever they detect a Bud Light ad attacking Coors Light. When the light goes on, the next round of Coors Light is ‘on the house’.

Nothing light-weight about that idea.

A great example of how to Hitch a Ride on the competition and Turn a Disadvantage into an Advantage.


2. Don’t Be Stumped!

What do you do with the stump of a 100-year-old, dead cottonwood tree in your front yard? You turn it into a tiny, free library where people can take or leave a book at their leisure.


Next time you’re stumped for an idea, why not ask yourself how you could transform something that IS into something that COULD BE?


3. Seriously Out of Touch!

A new study by Alliance Data reveals that many brands are badly out of touch with the needs and priorities of their consumers.

“This inability to accurately prioritize needs can cause brands to devote resources to needs consumers do not find important, reducing their ability to execute on higher priority needs… While (many brands) have made progress in areas such as simplicity and personalization, there are still significant gaps between brand performance and customer expectations.”


What are you doing to make sure that you are IN TOUCH and ON TARGET with your customers’ expectations?

4. Is Your MAIL a Laughing Matter?

Comic Relief, a UK based charity, uses the power of entertainment to raise funds to help create a just, poverty-free world. This year, in support of Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day, UK Royal Mail is creating a special edition ‘laughing’ postbox. Anyone posting mail in the box will get a one-of-a-kind, pre-recorded gag from comedian Hal Cruttenden in return.
Customer experience

Which got me thinking…

How could YOU Hitch a Ride on a good cause in a way that would reward YOUR customers for doing business with you?

Which also got me thinking…

If one joke is a GAG…

are several jokes a GAGGLE?



Just asking.


5. Are You Getting Enough Satisfaction in Your Bedroom?

IKEA strikes again.

After many decades studying the intricacies of life at home, IKEA has decided to help customers reach the highest level of fulfillment in the bedroom.☺️☺️☺️

The new, illustrated IKEA Kåma Sutra explores a variety of positions such as The Lotus Flower, The Widely Open and my personal favourite, The Seated Desire.

Curious? Check it out!

It’s Outrageous. It’s Courageous. And it’s FIVE ‘S’ Brilliant!

How far are YOU prepared to go to stand out in the crowd?

That’s it for now. Thanks for SLOWing down with me and taking it all in.

Until next time,

Toni Newman, customer experience












Tons of hugs…

Toni Newman



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