Photographer Platon has captured portraits of some of the most famous and powerful people on the planet. How does he break down the personal barriers of his subjects prior to taking their photos? His strategy is to ask brief but spectacular questions that seek the truth. In a recent piece on PBS, Platon shared some of the questions that helped him to capture the intensity of his subjects. These simple but powerful questions are all about connecting and revealing inner truths.
“Brief but spectacular questions” are often followed by a moment of silence. The person who has been asked the question often must pause to genuinely answer. The person might even say…”that’s a really good question” or take a deep breath and think a moment. Shortly after the pause, a thoughtful answer emerges that reveals the inner truth about a person. Do you ask “brief but spectacular questions” that help you to connect on a deeper level with friends, family and colleagues?
Platon during a photo shoot asked Mark Zuckerberg, how he copes with failure. Zuckerberg replied “there is no failure, I just love what I do.” This answer allowed Platon to capture Zuckerberg’s passion. Platon’s questions created connection which created space for truths to emerge.
In organizations, we must be courageous enough to ask powerful questions that probe and push us into a more meaningful dialogue. A brief, powerful question with authentic listening can bring us into greater understanding and appreciation of our collective strengths and weaknesses. In these brief moments of connection, we truly get to know each other for our talents, gifts, and passions.
How can you practice asking brief but spectacular questions this week? How will one powerful question help you to more deeply understand a friend, family member or colleague? Where would you like to begin?