When someone asks, “what do you think?”, it pays to take notice of a couple of things.
Where is she asking you? Who else is listening?
What information do you already have? What else do you need to know?
What tone is he using? How open is he, physically?
Check out their body language – have they sat down or remained standing? Can they look you in the eye?
What do they really want? Because it could be many things.
An inadequate list:
- Public praise
- A challenge
- The answer
- What you think the answer is
- What you think the CEO/board/investors/shareholders/funders will say the answer is
- Your opinion
- A compliment
- To be better
- To get better
- To learn something new
- To move forward with your backing
- To look smart
- To be right
- To be seen
None of these things are wrong.
It also doesn’t mean you have to give them what they’re seeking. It’s up to you how you respond.
What is worth doing is spending ten seconds to ask yourself, “What do they really want?” before you answer.