Create Conversations With Your Customers, Your People… and Yourself! 50 ‘Prompts’ To Help…

03Aug Create Conversations With Your Customers, Your People… and Yourself! 50 ‘Prompts’ To Help…

Research consistently shows that customers feel that suppliers don’t listen to them, employees feel that bosses don’t appreciate and value them and many business leaders say they can’t create the time to listen to themselves and ‘think’!

We all get caught up in the day to day, and I’m sure most of us do value our customers and appreciate our people – perhaps too many of us don’t show it!

So, what can you do about it? Create some conversations…. with your customers, your people, your suppliers… and even yourself! How? Well, conversations can’t happen until someone actually starts one! So here are 50 things to consider saying or asking to the key people around you to create conversations.

*Health Warning 1: You might need to adapt these to different individuals and situations – don’t just blurt them out, and please don’t do it as a ‘tick box’ exercise. Read through them, consider their appropriateness and work out which ones could work for you.

*Health Warning 2: Please actively listen to the responses and where possible, TAKE ACTION!

10 Things To Ask / Say To Your People… 

  1. “How are you today?”
  2. “Thank you for that” (be specific!)
  3. “What do you think about….?”
  4. “How do you feel about….?”
  5. “You’ve done a great job on….”
  6. “X tells me you did a great job on……”
  7. “What’s bugging you around here?”
  8. “What’s holding you back?”
  9. “What do you need to do your job better?”
  10. “What one thing should we never stop doing here?”


10 Things To Ask / Say To Your Customers… 

  1. “Thank you for buying from us – we really appreciate it”
  2. “How are you?”
  3. “Why do you buy from us?” (Be careful with the intonation with that one!)
  4. “When do you buy from us?”
  5. “What do we do / don’t we do that irritates or annoys you about us?”
  6. “Are you / were you completely happy with what we do / did?”
  7. “I saw this and thought of you….” (and send them something that’s useful and relevant to them)
  8. “Who’s really impressed you in our business?”
  9. “Please come and see us / can we come and see you?”
  10. “How can we do more business?”


10 Things To Ask / Say To Your Suppliers / Advisors… 


  1. “Thank you”
  2. “How do we rate as a customer?”
  3. “How could we make it easier for you to help us?”
  4. “How can you add value to our business?”
  5. “Who could we learn from?”
  6. “How well do you understand our business, our goals and our issues?”
  7. “I particularly like the way you do ‘x’…..”
  8. “What buying trends have you spotted that could affect us?”
  9. “This is what we think you could do to improve”
  10. “Please keep doing this ……”


10 Things to say / ask to increase idea generation…

  1. “If Carlsberg ran our business what would it look like?”
  2. “If you were M.D what would you do about ……?”
  3. “What should we stop, start, continue doing about …..?”
  4. “What would we need to do if a competitor emerged doing what we do for free?”
  5. “Here’s some money to take your team to the café and come back with 10 ideas to improve ‘X’”
  6. “What could we learn from ___________ *insert company name?”
  7. “If we could do only 1 thing better what would it be, and how would we do it?”
  8. “If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change here?”
  9. “Who could we learn from?”
  10. “Thanks you for that idea – I appreciate it”


10 Things To ask yourself…


  1. “What do I really enjoy doing?”
  2. “What am I really good at?”
  3. “Where / how do I really make an impact in this business?”
  4. “Am I focusing my efforts in the above areas appropriately?”
  5. “What one thing could I let go of / delegate?”
  6. “What’s my long term vision?”
  7. “Have I got people on board to help make that happen?”
  8. “Who could I learn from?”
  9. “What have I done well / achieved in the past year / month / week / day?”
  10. “Well done you!”


I’ll stress again, I’m not suggesting that you run around trying to say or ask all these 5o things, but why not use them as a prompt? Create your own…. and feel free to share with us any that work for you below

As Sir Jonathan Ive, the creator of the iPhone says “The best ideas start as conversations”, so go on…. Start creating those conversations – you never know where they might lead!

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