Does that make sense?

How often do you use that phrase?

The theory behind asking does that make sense? is to see if the person you are communicating with understands what you’re saying.

However, its become such a catch phrase to use that the expected answer is yes.  Often the person who asks the question doesn’t wait for a response and moves on.

Don’t be that person!

Think of when a higher-level person asks you that question.  Think of where they might ask you the question.  Your default answer, if you need to answer, will be yes.

If you really want to know if your employee understands, ask a different way.  Instead of does that make sense? you could say:

  • What are the top three things you got from what I just said?
  • What questions do you have?
  • How would you explain XXXX after what I just told you?
  • How does what I told you make sense to you?

These are just a few questions that could be more effective that does that make sense?  There are an infinite number of questions, although most of them, if not all, would begin with what or how.

When we avoid using the overused does that make sense? question:

  • We might ask questions that will show more insight
  • We are enhancing communication between you and the person to whom you are asking the question
  • We are creating a safe space for the other person to express what they don’t know

None of us want to look foolish.  Many times, asking does that make sense elicits a yes response, even if it doesn’t make sense to us.  We do this because it’s better than looking foolish.

Changing the question can change that response.

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