What Wasn’t Said in the Response

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?

3 thoughts on “What Wasn’t Said in the Response

  1. You had a keen, well trained ear to hear both what he said in response to your questions as well as what he omitted. There was no passion driving his venture, just the pursuit of personal financial gain. It has been my experience over the past 45 years in the business world that decisions made primarily in the pursuit of more money do not end up working out as well as those that have other goals, even more esoteric or altruistic motivations.

  2. There are a few more things that make people to start up their businesses like Passion, fame, solving a problem and financial freedom etc.. Majority go in for financial freedom only which cannot really sustain when there’s pressure. For Start-ups to stand, there should always be at least passion.

  3. This was a good reminder as I’m listening to Louise L Hay reminding me to follow my passions and dreams and purpose rather then following the money. the truth is once this gets to me the main focus…then the money will come with it!

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