When two male gorillas begin to battle each other, they put on a big show. First, each gorilla circles the other. Then they circle one another again, and again. As part of the process, they rake their hands across the dirt, scooping up handfuls and throwing it in the air to make quite a dust storm. This is what’s known as gorilla dust. Nothing really happens. The gorillas just keep circling and circling.
Getting to Yes or No
Sometimes, at work and in life, you need an answer. You don’t have time for gorilla dust. Think about how often, when someone asks a direct question, the other person begins by throwing up gorilla dust. They don’t want to give a direct answer. They circle around and around.
The only way to gain a clear response is to ask a closed-ended assertive question. Is it yes or no?(Sometimes you have to ask this power question a second time.)
A closed-ended question is potent and useful when you want a direct, non-sugar-coated response. Is it a yes or a no? Use this question to find out whether or not someone is fully committed. Alternative versions of the question are, “Can you commit fully to this?” and, “Are you on board or not?”