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Getting Anyone to Spill The Beans

By Marty Nemko

You'd love to know the real reason she's reluctant to agree. Or what he really thinks of you, but when you ask, he's reluctant to answer. Here's a trick for extracting the information--no Chinese water torture required. Use the Silent Treatment. When you get an inadequate answer, don't immediately jump in. Wait; count to five in your head. Silence is uncomfortable so he may fill in the void, perhaps with the information you want. If that doesn't work, you can always threaten to pull out his fingernails.

What can you do today?
Try it out. Just for fun, ask a friendly colleague a question that she might be slightly reluctant to answer, for example, "What did you think of this morning's meeting?" After she finishes answering, silently count to five before speaking. Chances are, she'll say more.

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