matt grant

sending a signal

Signalling is acting in a certain way to elicit a certain response. Sometimes we’re aware of the response we’re trying to create. Sometimes we’re not.

Everything we do sends a signal. Every choice we make, every word we say, every question we ask.

Our choices can be part of a conscious process. We do things because we want to achieve a certain outcome. But they can also give results we don’t intend or aren’t aware of. Things that are actually more damaging than beneficial to taking us in the direction we want to go.

Sometimes we aren’t even aware of the reasoning. We don’t interrogate our decision, it just happens. These decisions can be due to an external influence, trying to change something outside of ourselves or an intrinsic motivation, trying to change something within ourselves.

Our words, our manner of speaking and the questions we form all send signals on multiple levels. It’s not just about the answers we’re seeking, the way in which we seek them provides information about us.

When we’re asking questions and someone else is answering, it seems like a one-sided transaction.

That is never the case.

What we ask and how we ask it determines what we’re going to learn. It determines how the person being asked feels, how they respond, how the conversation flows and what knowledge we are able to gain. In order to further our understanding, it isn’t enough just to keep asking questions. We have to question our questions.

What do you really want to know? Why do you want to know it? What signal are you sending?

Be honest. Be curious. Keep asking questions. Keep finding better ways to ask.