Curated Leadership for Today's World

Curiosity killed more than the cat

Posted on 13 November 2013

curiositykilledthecat-sourcesmoshfacebookpage_06d5f5_3980829I just read one of my favorite books, You and Your Network, by Fred Smith.  Chapter 7, “Your Friends”, includes a fascinating insight. Mr. Smith clearly outlines the difference between interest and curiosity, and it’s an important distinction we need to factor into all of our relationships, personal and professional.

I recently spoke at a networking event and shared with the group how it drove me crazy when I’d get a call from someone who would ask me what I do in my business or what they could do to “help” me. I could tell from several of the attendees that they did not understand why that bothers me. Isn’t it good to hear about the prospective client so you can meet their needs? Well, if you haven’t established a relationship with them or at least done your homework, no, it’s not.

When you have a deep, sincere interest in someone you ask questions in order to truly help them. When you are curious about someone, you ask the question because you are looking to serve yourself. So there’s a big difference between asking interested questions and asking curious questions.

Here are the top three curious questions that will not just kill the cat, but any chance of a deal or relationship as well.

The Time Suck: These are sales calls from someone asking how they can help your business, or worse, asking you to tell them about your business. The reality is that they are looking for ways to help their business.  It’s like asking the teacher for the answers to the test so you don’t have to study.

Stump the Chump: These are calls where the salesperson asks you a question when they already know the answer. They are already smarter than you and are waiting for you to give the “wrong” reply so they can correct you.  It’s like someone pulling the rug out from under you and then wondering why you don’t take their hand to get up.

The National Enquirer: These are questions that ask for too much information (TMI). These people are simply looking for gossip fodder and are fishing for information so they can get the inside scoop. The behavior of these “Nosey Mrs. Rats” can best be summed up by the colloquialism, “I don’t repeat gossip, so listen up the first time.”

Always be careful what you say and to whom. Not all questions are meant to be answered. Not everyone who claims to be interested in you really is. Curiosity killed the cat. Be careful it doesn’t do the same to you!

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2 comments

  • traceyjones: February 20, 2016

    Chicanery 101, I think you should copywrite that one Mark! I am long overdue in responding to my favorite illustrator, critical mind…. ie. you!

  • Mark Armstrong: February 20, 2016

    This wonderful post made me roar with laughter, appreciation, and righteous indignation!! (re the latter: because it gave me flashbacks to Nosey Mrs. Rats that have pestered me from time to time!!)

    Sometimes I think that today’s social media and marketing techniques are all designed to teach people exactly the kind of phony, self-serving, bogus helpful behavior you describe! Chicanery 101!!— phooey!

    Great post, Tracey— as always, thanks for sayin’ what needs to be said! : )

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