At a time with so many ways to communicate in person and online, it’s a reasonable question: Can you over communicate?No, you can never over communicate. It’s similar to the daft expression people like to say, “You can never be too pretty, or have too much money.”How you communicate is what makes the difference.Effective leaders in any walk of life use questions instead of statements as their primary communication tool. They use inquiring words like “who…what…why…when…where…and how,” to find out what is important in a conversation 80% of the time, and pontificate or proclaim by way of statements merely 20% of the time.When you ask questions, be sure to phrase and deliver with an emotionally regulated tone of voice along with a relaxed, non-judgmental facial expression so the query is well received. “I was curious how the report turned out. Can you update me?” is much more effective than, said with a sneer, “Did you even remember to finally do the report?”Query to learn, engage, and let others shine. You don’t do it to interrogate, put a person into a corner, or be hostile.A key component of asking is to then listen to the answer.Even when you know the answer, it is important to ask people to get their reply--their point of view, first. You want to learn their thinking and test how close or far apart you are. If you want to influence people you don’t always have control over, you best find out what they want to achieve and what they want to avoid. By asking, you discover if and where there is a dangerous gap.The most powerful motivating question is “What do you want to steer clear of? When the dust settles, what don’t you want to have happen?” People are more motivated by a negative outcome than a positive one. If I called you at 3 a.m. and told you, “I bought you four new tires for your car,” you would receive the news less favorably than if I called you at 3 a.m. and said, “I was just driving by your house and I see some kids taking the tires off your car.” Avoiding losing your tires is more motivating than getting new ones — at least, at that time!One universal truism is that leaders stand out from the crowd. In an effort to communicate well — even if you were trained to give answers — you will positively stand out when you ask questions before giving answers, recommendations, and solutions.~DebraP.S. If you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me.