What People Say
What Will Your Competitive Advantage Be With Advanced Questioning Skills?
Waves of automation are about to transform labour markets. Jobs will come, jobs will go, and jobs will change as we enter what Forrester Research calls the Cognitive Era marked by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). Some people believe that humans and machines will coexist harmoniously; others believe AI is a threat to our species. We shall see.
Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne at the Oxford Martin School describe the skills that are difficult to automate as "bottlenecks to computerisation," including "social intelligence" (social perceptiveness, persuasion, negotiation, and assisting/caring) and "creative intelligence" (originality and fine arts). Social and creative intelligence rely on questioning skills.
Reykjavik Sky Consulting's masterclasses introduce advanced questioning principles from investigative journalism, social psychology, urban design, and cognitive neuroscience reinforced by business-related exercises and case studies. The Unquestionable Leadership Skill® will provide you with a competitive advantage regardless of your business specialisation and industry.
What do the Northern and Southern Lights have to do with asking questions? Think of them as the result of a cosmic Q&A session between the sun and earth. The sun emits a burst of solar plasma and the earth's magnetic fields at the poles respond with yellow-green, blue, pink, purple-red or red ribbons of light.
Even in nature, a powerful question can elicit a profound response.
“In a highly interactive and engaging workshop, David laid out a method for thinking about and asking questions. We worked in groups on exercises and case studies on real scenarios faced by directors and trustees and came away with a practical set of techniques to apply back in the workplace.”
Suzanne Trew, Consulting Director, FX1 Ltd., Edinburgh (IoD Scotland's Direction Magazine, Spring 2020)
“Indeed, my value as a change consultant comes about through keeping a certain distance from it all, giving me license to ask probing, difficult questions of key influencers in the organisation. The art of questioning lies at the heart of understanding and managing change. This realisation is what drew me to Dr. Steinberg's course.”
Philip Oliver, Managing Director and Change Consultant, Smartworks (IoD Scotland's Direction Magazine, Winter 2018)
“I was blown away by the utility and power of the content, and by David’s eloquence and enthusiasm for a troublesome and fascinating topic in modern business.”
Dave Healy, Associate Director, Global Pricing and Commercial at EY
"David Steinberg has developed a breakthrough method for engaging in conversations that build deeper and stronger relationships with clients and customers. I would strongly recommend it to any organization seeking to improve customer loyalty, retention or referrals."
Chris Malone, Managing Partner, Fidelum Partners
“I recently attended David's IoD masterclass on mastering the art of strategic questioning. I characterised it as a 'day long TED talk' due to the sheer level of interest it inspired within me. The class is insightful and engaging, with immediate uses in the business world and beyond. I cannot recommend the course, or indeed the tutor, enough. Thank you David for such a fantastic class.”
Ross Clarke, CA, Portfolio Manager, Target Advisers LLP
“I met David when he led a workshop at Cass Business School on Asking Strategic Questions. He gave an enthusiastic and very engaging session with key points on how to expertly scratch beneath the surface of an issue to get to the real truth of a matter.
I've used his techniques repeatedly since the workshop with great success, interviewing directors at several strategy consultancies, CEOs of multi-national businesses and during my everyday interactions with my peers. You know when you've hit the spot as David teaches when the other person remarks 'Wow, that's a great question!', which thanks to his course is now happening to me more often than not. I thoroughly recommend his course to anyone looking to get more out of their personal interactions, it's a day extremely well spent and was one of the professional development highlights of my MBA programme.”
Gareth Richards, Consultant and Cass MBA Candidate
“Overwhelmingly participants found the program timely, relevant and beneficial to their jobs regardless of their department.”
Rob Taylor, Vice President, Global Business Development, IHRDC
"David facilitated three separate workshops for well over 200 Amerinet employees. The content and execution was excellent, and I would highly recommend David to other organizations. In fact, our post meeting survey of attendees revealed that 95% of respondents rated the program as excellent/good. When asked (unaided), a majority of the attendees stated that the program was one of the best aspects of the meeting."
Jeff Bell, Chief Sales Officer, Amerinet, Inc.
“Regardless of your industry, if your work involves client engagement, you will benefit from his dynamic, entertaining and relevant workshop.”
Michael Thompson, Senior Vice President, Sports & Entertainment, Aramark Corporation
“As the chief human resources officer for the largest regional employer in western Massachusetts and one of the largest health care systems in New England, I oversee the design and development of our competency management system. After David's workshop, I have a new perspective on the importance of questioning skills in the workplace. Why such skills are labeled "soft" is beyond me.”
Paula Squires, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Baystate Health
“David's workshop at my Executive MBA program was phenomenal. The materials were thought-provoking and original, his mastery of the concepts led to great dialogue, and the activities were practical and memorable. I am very glad to have had the opportunity to learn from him.”
Nate Dennehy, Vice President, Plasma Giken USA
"I am the interview coach at ESPN and am constantly petitioned by outsiders who would like to drop in and observe my in-house workshops. Very few are permitted, but I was happy to make an exception for David. From the very start he impressed me with his thoughtful manner and erudite approach to learning. His subsequent work shows an excellent grasp of the methodology. Dr. Steinberg is a dynamic and gifted teacher who has developed his own innovative, interactive exercises, which illustrate and deepen the learning experience."
John Sawatsky, Senior Director, Talent Development, ESPN
"David's workshop during a recent MBA program was the perfect complement to our quantitative and analytical coursework. The tools and techniques that were taught are truly a benefit to anyone in any industry and underscore the importance of "soft" skill development."
Jeffrey Lockhart, Sales Director, MEDITECH
"David's innovative client engagement training session was the most useful tool I've encountered in getting to meaningful and productive conversations with clients. David's entertaining instruction and dynamic way of reinforcing his techniques made his sesson really stick with my colleagues and me."
Dave Penkala, National Marketing Director, Aramark Corporation
"What impressed me the most about David's workshop is its applicability across diverse cultures as well as its simplicity. I have used this technique in many cold calls and the results were truly amazing."
Marwa Hassan, Sales Support & Implementation Manager, Middle East and Africa, IHRDC
"David is one of those professionals who make a lasting impact on your career. David presented his training to the Northeast Region managers and directors at ARAMARK Higher Education, and three years later I still apply his key principles daily in my approach to marketing and sales. His guidance in how to structure interviews has allowed me to engage in conversations with clients and prospects in a way that has allowed me to understand the true needs of our clients, resulting in increased closing rates and designed project scopes that speak to the client’s actual needs."
Sarah (Conduragis) Bessette, Marketing Director, Steritech
"David is a fantastic presenter, who is knowledgeable and passionate. I feel that course material will benefit me at my work when dealing with Oil & Gas executives in a highly challenging business environment. I learnt effective techniques and strategies, which could be adaptable to many situations and easily used in practice.
I would strongly recommend it to any management consultancy who is striving to build, improve and maintain their client relationships."
Katerina Gunningham, Upstream Oil & Gas Strategy, Business Transformation and Change Consultant, Wipro Technologies
"The strategic questioning workshop really was first class. The material went straight to practical use the next day - and I think on most days since."
Paul Dondos, Cass MBA Candidate | 15+ Years International Experience in Finance, Innovation, Strategy and Entrepreneurship
David C. Steinberg, Ph.D.
During his 36-year career, Dr. David Steinberg has built high-performance teams and directed sales operations and strategic account management processes in extremely fast-paced work environments and competitive markets involving multi-million-dollar contracts.
For eight years, David served as director of strategic development, Northeast US, for the Higher Education division of the Aramark Corporation. Aramark was consistently ranked by Fortune as one of the world’s most admired companies in the category of diversified outsourcing services. He directed all activities related to the execution of customised account strategies including pro-active contract renewals, formal bid processes, and risk assessment and mitigation for existing Aramark business partners generating $4 million to $37 million in revenue annually.
Prior, David worked for five years as director of sales operations and communications for eCollege.com (now Pearson Education), an online learning software-as-a service provider dedicated to higher education institutions, and for an additional year as the company's Northeast U.S. regional manager. eCollege was recognised by Eduventures as one of the 100 most innovative and successful companies driving growth in the learning markets. He built eCollege’s sales operations from the ground up. Forbes included eCollege on its list of America’s Top 25 Fastest Growing Technology Companies in 2004 and 2005.
David published a peer-reviewed paper titled “The Business Model of e-Learning in UK Higher Education: Optimization through Outsourcing” in Industry and Higher Education. He conducted a seminar based on his paper at a conference titled “Universities Challenged: New Strategies and Business Models” in London.
David completed his doctoral research on the GATT-Uruguay negotiations between the United States and European Union on audiovisual services. His research spanned five years and required dozens of interviews with U.S. and EU business executives and government officials. His examiners described his dissertation as an “outstanding example of academic investigative writing.”
David has conducted advanced questioning skills masterclasses for a variety of companies including Aramark, Amerinet, and IHRDC, and for consultants in the London offices of Strategy& and Wipro Technologies. He has also tailored programmes for executive MBA students at Boston University's Questrom School of Business, and for MBA students and Emerging Leaders MBA students at Bentley University's McCallum Graduate School of Business. The popularity of his sessions led to an invitation from Suffolk University's Sawyer Business School in Boston to teach a 12-week "challenge course" on advanced questioning skills for honours students during the spring 2016 term.
In the UK, David is a guest lecturer at Cass Business School in London, where he delivers workshops for the FTMBA, MEMBA and EMBA programmes to help students develop their networking skills and prepare their business mastery projects and other strategy projects involving external clients.
David conducts workshops on advanced questioning skills and research question design for the University of Edinburgh Institute for Academic Development (IAD). He also conducts workshops on advanced questioning, research question design, and design thinking for the Edinburgh University School of Social and Political Science (SSPS).
David is the Associate Professor of Leadership, Strategy & Organisation at Heriot-Watt University. He is also Director of EBS Graduate Apprenticeship programmes.
David is a tutor for the Institute of Directors Scotland and has delivered workshops for the Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
David holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, an M.A. in Communications Policy from City, University of London, and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
David emigrated to Scotland with his family in the summer of 2016.
The Sawatsky Method
John Sawatsky has spent most of his career challenging standard journalistic practices. His goal has been to change the culture of the journalistic interview. His method is the result of over four decades of R&D that began at Carlton University in Ottawa, Canada, where he dedicated 10 years to teaching investigative journalism.
He argues that TV interviewers who adopt a prosecutorial style and rely on yes/no questions upstage their guests and merely scratch the surface of the story. To get to the heart of the story, interviewers first need to adopt an “input” mindset, best captured by Susan Cain in her new book Quiet as “extreme humility coupled with intense professional will.” Mr. Sawatsky emphasises the importance of “professional listening” and the need for self-awareness when asking questions. Most TV interviewers adopt the opposite mindset – “output” – relying on flash and charisma. It’s good for ratings! Interviewers should ask open, neutral and lean questions that explore key changes in their guests' lives and ease them into the moment of the topic. By doing so, they allow the true story to emerge unfettered by bias, hyperbole, and non-questions. He also teaches the importance of asking follow-up questions that expand upon what their guests actually said to them.
It turns out, for example, that an “input” mindset helps close sales. Adam Grant of the Wharton School of Business notes that extraverts are not the best sales performers. Those who fall between introverts and extraverts perform best because “they are likely to express sufficient assertiveness and enthusiasm to persuade and close a sale but are more inclined to listen to customers’ interests and less vulnerable to appearing too excited or overconfident.”
Reykjavik Sky Consulting delivers advanced training to help you develop a new kind of competitive advantage. Programmes emphasise humility, finely tuned listening, empathy, and Eastern and Western perspectives on mindfulness. Feedback from participants from around the world confirms that the method resonates across cultures and industries.
Programmes range from large workshops at national corporate meetings to one-on-one sessions facilitated on the internet and face-to-face. The curriculum is steeped in cognitive neuroscience, social psychology, urban design, and investigative journalism and features group discussions and exercises to allow participants to practise their new skills.
Refresher Workshop (Online or Face-to-Face)