The past holds (more) truth
The future is mere speculation
This is a short edition.
This is for your next talk with a potential customer or any stakeholder.
Responses about the past are more likely to be true than conjectures about the future.
Inquire about the past
“Making predictions is very hard, especially about the future” - Danish proverb
The past: Likely to be true
“Last week I went to the gym 3 times”
Follow-up with: “Which days?”, to see if someone is bluffing
“I spend €20 on wine on Friday”
Follow-up with: “Which wines and how much were they each?”, to see if not sugarcoating.
“I was feeling anxious each morning for at least 1 hour”
Follow-up with: “Every day, or most days?” to create nuance
“Last year I travelled by plane 5 times”
Follow up with: “Where to?” to see if it ranks up
“Before using [product X] I used [product Y] for a couple of months”
Follow up with: “Why did you switch?”
The future: Less likely to be true
“I will definitely buy your solution”
Could mean: I don’t want to be rude but your solution is not for me.
Follow up with: Do you want to buy one now?
“Yes, I would be interested in your app when it’s ready”
Could mean: Please leave me alone.
Follow up with: Can I get your email to email you when it’s ready?
“This week I really want to eat more vegetables”
Could mean: I’m pretty sure I won’t, but I’m not going to tell you that
Follow up with: What have you already done about it?
“I’m thinking of going to France on a holiday”
Could mean: I didn’t really consider going on a holiday until you asked me
Follow up with: When was the first time you considered going to France?
“For me, sustainability is really important when making decisions”
Could mean: I’m not going to admit that I rarely let it involve my decisions”
Follow up with: When was the last time sustainability influenced your decision?
🌶 Jeroen’s spicy hot take 🔥
Obviously, people can lie about their past. Maybe they try to withhold information. You can’t avoid that.
That’s why you want to have an authentic conversation with someone, that allows them to share their experience in a safe way.
Ask the proper follow-ups to get closer to the truth. Train that muscle. People tend to overestimate their interview skills or are easily accepting answers to be true without drilling.
Some readers disagreed with me. Read about that here
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