Last year, when talking to an entrepreneur about his startup, I asked him why he started the company. He responded that he wanted to build a big company and do well financially. Probing a bit deeper, he explained how he owned a certain percentage of the company and that there were several key financial goals he was hoping to achieve. What wasn’t said in the answer was more telling than the actual answer. Where was the excitement about changing the world? Where was the enthusiasm for solving a hard problem?
Here are a few thoughts about what wasn’t said in the response:
- Certain questions have certain expected responses, and they aren’t meant to be trick questions
- When responding, the first idea in the explanation is always the most important, and most telling
- Body language and nonverbal communication is a key part of the response
Whether it’s an entrepreneur talking about their startup, or a potential employee sharing thoughts on their last job, what wasn’t said in the response can be even more important than what was said.
What else? What are some more thoughts on the idea that what’s left unsaid in an answer can be critically important?