The Sherlock Strategy: Guaranteed to Improve Communication

communication leadership management personal growth relationships Oct 18, 2022
Improve Communication

Do you want your personal and professional relationships to be stronger and more satisfying? If, like most people, your answer is “of course”, then I want to share a very powerful communication tool that has the potential to transform your relationships.

I refer to this communication tool as the Sherlock Strategy.  Named after the famed detective, this practice of effective inquiry simply involves the ability to ask timely and relevant open-ended questions for the purpose of increasing accurate understanding of another person’s thoughts, feelings, and needs.  The great Sherlock Holmes could always dig past the obvious to see what was really going on. 

Every human being shares a common desire and need to be understood.  Unfortunately, when it comes to our high-stake (most important) relationships we often feel misunderstood, especially when it comes to important and sensitive issues.

When communicating we too often assume we understand what the other person wants us to know, but many times we fall short of complete understanding.  This becomes problematic for two key reasons: First, we fail to meet the other person’s need to be understood, and second, because our response to the person is based on what we think they mean – not what they really mean – which renders the response deficient, ineffective, and even potentially offensive.

When someone attempts to communicate something of genuine importance to them it will serve you well to initially respond in one of two ways.  First, clarify what you heard in order to make sure the message sent is the message received.  For example, “I want to make sure I understand what you are saying.  What I heard is…”  If what you heard is confirmed, you can confidently move forward with your conversation.  Second, ask questions that help you clearly understand the message.  This involves the skill and practice of Inquiry.

Inquiry simply entails asking open-ended questions – questions that can’t be answered with a “yes” or “no” response.  For example, “I want to really understand what it is you need or want me to know, please give me a couple of specific examples of what you are talking about?”  The goal of inquiry is to become as knowledgeable and informed about what the person is thinking and feeling as you can.  We often refer to this as “getting behind someone’s eyes” so as to see life, or an issue, the way they do.  It is this knowledge or understanding that positions us to effectively and credibly respond to the intended message.  When this understanding is coupled with a caring, respectful response you will be able to genuinely, effectively connect with another human being.

Begin today to think like Sherlock – if you ask the right questions, you’ll get the right answers. With practice, this strategy may not solve any murder mysteries, but it will help you solve the mystery of how to achieve strong relationships and great communication!

Please leave a comment to let me know what helps you achieve great communication and connection in your most important relationships.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

Learn How to Build Unshakeable Self-Confidence UsingĀ Scientifically Proven MethodsĀ inĀ 30 Days!

Our Confidence in Mind online courseĀ unveils howĀ to eliminate embarrassing self-doubt, paralyzing fear, and the crippling voice of the inner critic.

Sign-Up Today!

Learn More

Stay connected with our newest Blog posts and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest Relate WellĀ Blog posts and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.