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It seems even more incredible that these experts are very rarely asked to share their expertise. Most people find experts intimidating, so the deep knowledge that they have to offer is never fully used. What a senseless waste of a valuable resource-all because of an irrational fear.

Rule Three: Ask open-ended questions

Power Negotiators understand the importance of asking and of taking the time to do it properly. What's the best way to ask? Rudyard Kipling talked about his six honest serving men. He said,
I keep six honest serving-men.
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
and How and Where and Who.

Of Kipling's six honest serving men, I like Why the least. Why can easily be seen as accusatory. "Why did you do that?" implies criticism. "What did you do next?" doesn't imply any criticism. If you really need to know why, soften it by rephrasing the question using what instead: "You probably had a good reason for doing that. What was it?" Learn to use Kipling's six honest serving men to find out what you need to know.

You'll get even more information if you learn how to ask open-ended questions. Close-ended questions can be answered with a yes or a no or a specific answer. For example, "How old are you?" is a closed-end question. You'll get a number and that's it. "How do you feel about being your age?" is an open-ended question. It invites more than just a specific answer response.

"When must the work be finished by?" is a closed-ended question. "Tell me about the time limitations on the job," is an open-ended request for information.

Rule Four: Where you ask the question makes a big difference

Power Negotiators also know that the location where you do the asking can make a big difference. If you meet with people at their corporate headquarters, surrounded by their trappings of power and authority and their formality of doing business, it's the least likely place for you to get information.

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