Mastering the Art of Inquiry

Lessons from the EO Interview on Influence
January 24, 2024
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I was recently featured in an interview with EO Channel. I want to share the critical lessons learned from this experience about asking great questions! EO is a YouTube channel with over 180k subscribers dedicated to fostering positive change through innovation and entrepreneur stories. This experience provided a unique perspective on the significance of asking profound questions not only in interviews but also in our daily lives.

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The Depth of Inquiry

EO Channel's approach to interviews involves a deep dive into the subject matter. Spending over two hours to create a mere 10-minute YouTube video highlights their commitment to extracting compelling content. 

While interviewing tech leaders for my newsletter, I always wondered how other people create engaging content consistently. As Michael Lewis puts it in his podcast, “Against the Rules,” experts who really know their craft are often not great storytellers. As a journalist, he has to tease out the insights and gems himself from boring conversations.

Applying Questioning in Daily Life

Whether navigating through our careers, facing challenges, or dealing with conflicts, the ability to pose meaningful questions proves pivotal. Asking ourselves, "What precisely are we striving to achieve? What are the real challenges or lessons at play?" can provide clarity in professional and personal pursuits.

Similarly, in conflicts with others, questions like "What are we aiming for in this situation? What are the potential advantages and disadvantages?" can foster understanding and resolution. The practice of posing inquiries from diverse perspectives becomes a game-changer in unraveling the core of any issue.

Life's Essential Skill: Asking Great Questions

Learning to ask great questions emerges as one of the most important skills in life. The ability to inquire effectively, both within ourselves and when engaging with others, becomes a catalyst for personal and professional growth. It is a skill that transcends the boundaries of interviews and content creation, impacting the way we approach challenges and opportunities.

Insights from the Interview

Here are some of the topics we discussed during the interview.

1. Influence is about Likability and Credibility:

People are more likely to open doors to new opportunities if they find you likable and credible. Building influence involves fostering positive relationships grounded in authenticity.

2. Focus on One Thing and Be Known for That:

The age-old advice of specialization holds true. It is better to excel in one area than to spread oneself thin across multiple domains. Being known for expertise in a specific field enhances credibility and recognition.

3. Don't Blindly Follow Trends:

The interview emphasized the importance of inquisitiveness and passion. Instead of blindly following trends, individuals should explore their passions and strengths. What are you good at, and what brings you joy? These questions lead to a more fulfilling and purposeful journey.

4. Focus on Quality over Quantity:

The pursuit of quality over quantity applies not only to content creation but also to various aspects of life. Having a few high-quality features is more impactful than having many low-quality ones. Excellence should be prioritized over quantity.

5. Find Something that is Interesting to You:

Passion is a driving force for sustained interest and success. If the work is not genuinely interesting, boredom is likely to set in. Finding something personally captivating and enjoyable ensures long-term engagement and fulfillment.

Closing thoughts

A heartfelt thank you to the EO team for providing a great experience and skillfully extracting valuable insights from our conversation. Their dedication to fostering positive change is evident, and the lessons learned during the interview are invaluable.

For those interested in delving deeper into the discussion, the full video can be watched here. It's a testament to the power of effective questioning in unlocking profound insights.

Exaltitude newsletter is packed with advice for navigating your engineering career journey successfully. Sign up to stay tuned!

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