The Best Way to Answer Questions—Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Founder, Raise Your AQ

 We’ve all learned how to ask questions and why it is important. But what about answering questions? Have you been taught how to answer questions and why it is important?  

Our guest today is Dr. Brian Glibkowski, who shares with us his research and framework for how to develop and present answers. It is what he calls Answer Intelligence. 


Being aware that it is not just the questions you ask, but also being prepared to answer questions.


Dr. Brian Glibkowski is an author, researcher, and futurist passionate about the role of questions and answers in business and society. 

His journey started with his research on questions. He authored an article on questions that has been recognized by the Association of Human Resource Development as one of ten articles that will shape the 21st century. 

During his research on questions, one simple observation stopped him in his tracks. We know a lot about questions. We know very little about answers. In grade school we teach children about questions, not answers. Our children learn about the six wh-questions (why, what when, where, who, how) and they learn about open and closed questions. There is no typology of answers we teach our children. Journalists, physicians, sales reps, executive coaches, and almost all professionals have been trained in questions, not answers. Business books with question in the title outnumber books with answer in the title 3 to 1. 

His new book is Answer Intelligence: Raise Your AQ. The book introduces a new science of answers that is nominated for a 2022 Prose award for professional and scholarly excellence. The book rights have been purchased for translation into multiple languages. The AQ framework has been adopted by universities, including the Imperial College of London Business School (global top 20). Certified AQ Partners from the USA, UK, UAE, Australia, India, and elsewhere use AQ with forward thinking organizations around the world.


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Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:01):

Welcome to the Multiply Your Success Podcast, where each week, we help growth-minded entrepreneurs and franchise leaders take the next step in their expansion journey. I’m your host, Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team. And as we open today, we have all learned how to ask questions and why it is important to do so. But what about answering questions? Have you been taught how to answer questions and why that is important?

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:29):

Well, our guest today is Dr. Brian Glibkowski, who shares with us his research and framework on how to develop and present answers. It’s what he refers to and calls Answer Intelligence or AQ. Now Dr. Brian is an author, researcher and futurist passionate about the role of questions and answers in business and society. His journey started with his research on questions. He authored an article that has been recognized by the Association of Human Resource Development as one of the 10 articles that will shape the 21st century. During his research on questions, one simple observation stopped him in his tracks. We know a lot about questions, and we know very little about answers, which is one of the primary reasons we’ve invited him and asked him to join us. So his new book is Answer Intelligence: Raise Your AQ, where the book introduces a new science of answers that is nominated for a PROSE Award, for Professional and Scholarly Excellence. You’re really going to enjoy this interview, so let’s go ahead and jump right into it.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (01:36):

My name is Brian Glibkowski. My company is Semplar Science, and we focus on Answer Intelligence: Raise Your AQ, and I’m the founder of the company.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (01:48):

Thank you so much for being here. And really, one of the primary drivers for having you on the show is to talk about Answer Intelligence in your book and your research and what you’ve come to find out. And I’d just love for you to open up a little bit about this idea about Answer Intelligence and what that is.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (02:10):

Yeah. So, Answer Intelligence really comes from our understanding of questions. We focus on and understand a lot about questions. Going back to grade school, we know there’s six WH questions and open and close questions, but there’s nothing parallel on the answer side. If I was going to ask you right now, Tom, or your audience, how many answer types are there? I think it would stump most people, and that’s what I focused on in my research and developed a typology of six answer types that map to questions. Basically, this is a framework that anyone can use to have greater influence in the world. Answers are a key mechanism for that.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (02:51):

When you think of answers, it naturally leads to questions and we’re taught that you want to ask questions and learning how to ask great questions is really important in business and just in life in general. And so, maybe, share a little more on how answers help fit into that equation as well.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (03:11):

Yeah, so first of all, I’m going to say I’ve done research on questions, too. I like questions and answers. They’re both important. They serve different functions. The primary function of a question is curiosity. We ask about things we don’t know or the other party doesn’t. The answer fills that gap. When you fill that gap, it creates influence. But I think if you reflect on key moments in your career and life, it’s the answers that you connect to that allow you to move forward. So, for example, in sales, how do you close the proverbial deal? You answer the question that keeps the executive buyer up at night. How do you do well on the interview? You can ask great questions, but if you provide great answers, you’re going to stand out as a candidate.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (03:54):

One of the things that I’d like to hopefully take a few minutes to walk through is a little bit of your framework and the five High AQ practices as well. So, maybe, talk through the framework and what that looks like and some best practices or High AQ practices that you’ve helped develop or that you have developed, I should say.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (04:14):

For the listeners, I’m sure you’ll share some information, but if you go to, there’s a picture of the six answers in a circular framework surrounded by questions. And basically, what AQ is a mapping of questions to answers. If you ask, for example, say, we’re talking about leadership, what is leadership? It can be answered with a concept or metaphor. Why is leadership important to be answered with? We call a theory or strategy and story. How do you lead with procedure and action? So it’s sort of a simple mapping and from there, you can learn different ways to navigate the questions and answers.

And maybe, I’ll just provide one example to illustrate question and answers, and then I’ll briefly go through the High AQ practices. Let’s examine leadership. I think all of us who want to be leaders are listening right now, and you have franchise organizations that want to lead others. So you have to ask and answer basic question, what is leadership? So as a concept, for example, I could say, leadership is inspiring others and holding them accountable to achieve a goal. That’s a definition, okay, you can disagree with it, but that’s a concept. Then, as a metaphor, I could say leadership is two ropes and my fingers are extended now, and the two ropes are separate. They’re strong. When they’re braided together, I cross my fingers, the rope is even stronger, and that’s how I lead. I inspire and hold people accountable each meeting, each time we speak. So that’s an example of providing a concept and metaphor answer. And by extension, we could identify appropriate theory, story, procedure, and action. And those that are really influential have very strong compelling answers that make you stand up.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (06:03):

And the High AQ practices are these techniques we learned from the research, and the research originated with the top golf instructors in the world. We can go there if you like in a second, but here’s the five High AQ practices. The first one is be able to provide all six answers, but provide the best answer. So if you’re sitting there and saying, “Why are we here today?” Maybe, a story is the best singular answer. Okay, so that gives you focus and you provide a best answer. That’s High AQ Practice 1. High AQ Practice 2 is provide two answers. So the example I gave about the concept of leadership and the two ropes as a metaphor, you could provide both answers at the same time to sort of appeal to a logical side of the brain and the emotional side of the brain. And the idea is you provide two answers when things are ambiguous, or you really want to make an impression. You don’t always want to do that, because it’ll be sort of like a monologue if you just, you know, too many answers at a time. That’s High AQ Practice 2.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (07:06):

High AQ Practice 3 is provide compliments. So let’s imagine you’re teaching your clients about mentoring, mentoring the different people in the franchise network and someone’s attending this training. They may ask you a question, “What is mentoring?” And you could answer it as a concept or metaphor. I’ll just say, as a concept, you could say, “Mentoring is helping others to become their better future selves at work. It consists of career support, social support, and role modeling.” You can elaborate, but that’s a solid answer. Complementary answers say based on the first answer and question, what’s a likely next question in the answer? How do they go together?

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (07:50):

And in this example, someone that listens to you say that mentoring is social support might ask a follow-up question, “Well, how do I provide social support?” I get what it is, but how do I do it?” And then, you might give a procedure answer and say, “Well, social support is an open door policy.” Step one, leave your door open. Step two, people can come in and talk to you. If it’s less than five minutes, you meet. More than five minutes, you schedule another meeting. Very basic procedure, but it relates to social support. And when you have an issue like socially, like you’re feeling down on yourself or strange with other relationships, you need that support right away. That’s why you want to do it right away as opposed to later. So that’s a complementary answers.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (08:39):

High AQ Practice 4 is answer with style. So if you look at the website, the six answers have different colors to sort of correspond to the style. So someone that prefers stories and metaphors has a relational style. They like to connect experiences and emotions. Someone that’s analytical might prefer a theory and concept explaining and predicting in a complex world. And those that prefer blue answers, procedure and action, like to focus on practical things getting worked done. So if I’m meeting with someone and they really prefer stories and metaphors, what do you do? You provide more of them. You know, pretty basic.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (09:22):

And the final High AQ practice is answering context. So this is sort of going from checkers to chess, and the context is important. So if you’re on an interview and you’re interviewing with a bank context, what kind of answer do you provide? A story about something you’ve done with banks. If you’re interviewing with a bakery, what do you do? Context, you provide a story about you and a bakery, not rocket science, but this is about you consider the context and your answer’s going to be more impactful. And in total, these five High AQ practices are like a basketball game on offense. You have different ways to score, free throw, layup, three pointer, et cetera. And so you have these High AQ practices and you can use them at different times. And the skilled player and operating on a skilled team is going to win more games. And that’s the idea with AQ.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (10:21):

Brian, one of the things that I found interesting on your graphic that you have, and we’ll make sure we include links to your book and website, so people can see this is one half, if I recall correctly, one side of the answers is more geared toward the left side of the brain thinking, and the other side is toward right side of the brain thinking. So you hinted on that a little bit. Will you give a little more detail on that, I guess, and explanation?

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (10:48):

Yeah, so this really relates to answering twice. And so you have these objective answers, which collectively are procedure, concept, and theory, and then, you have subjective answers which are story, metaphor, and action. So, on each side of the brain, you can answer the same question. Like with concept, I could define what mentoring is, give you a definition, break it down, it’s very logical, or I can give you a metaphor to explain mentoring. This would be more emotional. Both are valid, they’re just different types of knowledge. So with AQ, we want you to connect with the left side of the brain and the right side of the brain, and that’s good for getting your point across.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (11:38):

This makes me think of a practical application to your research and your book and the things that you’re doing with AQ and really thinking from a marketing and sales standpoint for the business leaders tuning in, most have salespeople, or maybe, they are the salesperson and might be doing many of these things you’re already describing and just haven’t figured that out. And what I’m thinking is how can this be applied or implemented to help maybe improve a sales team or how have you maybe seen this implemented maybe with clients or companies you’ve worked with to improve maybe its performance, maybe its results, or maybe it’s just general satisfaction or sentiment within the sales team.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (12:22):

I’ll make a couple comments on sales, a lot of applications for sales and had one pharmaceutical company that engagement and keynote and workshop series, and they wanted to have their sales team have executive level conversations. They were order takers. They wanted to take it up a notch. So that involves having command of questions and answers and intentionally navigating those conversations. Something that AQ can provide us a skill. Also, gives you a framework, server repository of your answers. So if you think of value proposition, like Big Sky has a value proposition, why franchise? What you want to sign up as part of the franchise program? And what you can do is catalog all the different answer types. So as an organization, if you think about it, you may have a story or two perhaps, but do you have key metaphors you can use? Do you have key actions that illustrate? So a big application is to take the value proposition and try to understand it in terms of exemplar answers that you can catalog and share with others.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (13:28):

I’ll just give you one more application in sales, and this is true in general, is that individually, and I think perhaps by job types or industry, you may over index on certain answer types. So for example, in sales, arguably there’s an over indexing and story. Everything is a story. It’s got to be a story. And with the same pharmaceutical company, we have a free test in our website, AQ exploration you can take. And the average score by the way is less than 50%. And there was this subset of the sales reps, I think it was seven out of 250 that put story for every single answer. That’s what they believe. But I sort of dissuaded the group of this by the following sort of point.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (14:15):

If you go to Walgreens or CVS right now and you ask the clerk, “How do I find a Mars candy bar?” You’re expecting a procedure or action answer. You want the clerk to say, “Go down the aisle one, and take a left, bottom shelf procedure,” or maybe even better in action. The clerk walks you to the candy bar, right? But what you probably don’t want is a story. Do you want the clerk to tell you the story of the history of Mars candy bars? Probably not. And this is what AQ is getting at is that there are different answers appropriate in different parts of the conversation. So sales reps, let’s move our sales organizations, franchise leaders, let’s move away from single answers, be more sophisticated, be more intentional, and be ready to provide the right answers at the right time. And if you do that, you’re going to influence and you’re going to win.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (15:04):

Brilliant. Well, just as a note here, just for someone that says, “Brian, this sounds great, I love what’s going on,” where can they start gathering more information and some links, websites, things that they can go to?

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (15:17):

Yeah, I think the best resource is our website, There’s the free AQ exploration test you can take, and there’s other resources, podcasts, videos, et cetera that someone can try. Encourage you to go to the website and look at the free AQ exploration. That’s a great place to start. It’s an AI infused assessment also. It’s sort of interesting.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (15:41):

Wonderful. Well, this is a great time in the show here, Brian, where we make a transition, and we ask every guest before they go the same four questions. And the first question we ask is, have you had a miss or two on your journey and something you learned from it.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (15:54):

Yeah, many misses, I think sort of been said in research that you tend to research things you’re bad at in academia and a lot of things I’m bad at, so I could research a lot of things, but communication has always been something for me. I always felt like I was pretty articulate, but maybe people didn’t understand me, or I wasn’t as intentional as I wanted to be. And a miss was when I was teaching, I was the professor that didn’t have a textbook. I would assign academic articles to undergraduates and didn’t give examples in the AQ terms. What was I doing? I was over indexing on theory and concept, and I wasn’t focusing on practical answers and not having a textbook examples how to do things. I mean, it sounds so obvious. I wasn’t trying to deprive people of information, I just missed it. So that was a miss right there. Should I move on to the next one, a make?

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (16:48):

Yeah, sure. Let’s talk about a make.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (16:51):

The biggest make for me right now it’s sort of a recency thing is with my company. What I really like doing is supporting partners and sort of being behind the scenes. And that’s been really exciting for me. We have a global partner network right now of 50-plus partners in 19 countries. And just supporting them is really a pleasure for me, and it’s hard to find sort of where your fit is, and I really feel like I found something that really works for me. So that’s a make.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (17:22):

Wonderful. Well, let’s talk about a multiplier. We get such a broad cross-section of responses for a multiplier maybe to grow yourself personally or professionally or organizations you’ve been a part of.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (17:33):

And here, I’ll talk about AQ and in the software. So one thing we found is we developed AQ before AI with this new platform infused with AI. So before AI, let’s say, you were involved in a training or workshop or coaching and you’re getting these questions. Tom, what is leadership to you? Why do you want to be a leader? How do you lead? And my goodness, it’s hard to come up with these answers. Answers are hard. So what we’ve done with AI is have sort of some controlled applications where, let’s say, if you’re trying to answer those questions, you can maybe go through a wizard with proper contacts and all of a sudden five metaphors come up, and you get to choose the one that’s right for you. And you go through this whole process, and you’ve identified dozens of answers that connect to you. Are they perfect? No, but you’re maybe 85% of the way there, a little more reflection and refinement, and then there you go. I think AI has been a real force multiplier to allow people to go farther faster.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (18:44):

The final question we ask every guest, Brian, is what does success mean to you?

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (18:49):

So this is where I always like to say I’m a coach, not a player. I’d be able to nail this in a cute terms, right? And what is success? You could answer that as a concept and/or metaphor. I don’t know if I have both those answers fully ready, but I will say to me, I’ll answer the concept side, to me, success is I’m going to answer this two-way. What is it and how do you achieve it? Because I’ve actually thought about the how more. What is success? To me, success is taking something you love, sharing it with the world.

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (19:26):

Operationally as an entrepreneur, I was on another podcast and they asked me how did I become successful, and I really reflected on it, and it was really sort of a three-step process. I think for success to happen, first, you have to look inward for really big success. And if you want to go someplace, no one’s ever gone before, only you could define that. Second, you have to bring others on board with what you’re doing. And third, once everyone’s on board, the process is transformed where now everybody is contributing jointly in that success and what the future’s going to look like. And so to me, that’s sort of the process of success and is how I define it. So that’s my how answer three-step procedure maybe better than my what answer.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:15):

Wonderful. Well, as we bring this to a close, Brian, is there anything you were maybe hoping to share or get across that you haven’t had a chance to yet?

Dr. Brian Glibkowski, Raise Your AQ (20:23):

I’ll just say, hopefully, for everyone listening today, you can connect to different conversations that are important to you. We talked about sales, but it could be leadership, mentoring. And as you’re in your journey with your franchising, the ability to communicate is really important because you’re going to have to take your vision, share it with others. It’s not an easy process. So you have to be an effective. So best of luck for all those listening.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:51):

Brian, thank you so much for a fantastic interview. And let’s go ahead and jump into today’s three key takeaways. So takeaway number one is really just this whole concept of Answer Intelligence and being aware that it’s not just the questions you ask, but also on how to be prepared to answer questions as well. Takeaway number two is when he shared the five best practices for Answer Intelligence, for a person to be prepared with, those five are, number one, be prepared with six answers. Number two, answer twice where there are the different, and when you’re looking at the icon or image that he created, you’ll be able to see that.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (21:33):

Number three is provide compliments. Number four is answer with style, the style relating to relational, practical, and analytical styles. And then, the final and fifth-best practice is to answer in context. And he shared the example of if you’re at a bank, talking to a banker, well, share something in context that would be relevant to that banker. Takeaway number three is when Brian shared his definition of success and he gave a really short brief synopsis where he said, “It’s taking something you love and sharing it with the world.” I thought that was great. If you’re able to take something you love and share it with the world.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (22:11):

And now it’s time for today’s win-win. Today’s win-win is all about Answer Intelligence. And it’s really the same as takeaway number one. And I’m re-emphasizing it, because I think it’s so important. And when Dr. Glibkowski first shared this concept with me, I was fascinated by it. And I thought we really need to be sharing and talking about this with our audience. And so as the leader of your organization, it’s important for you to be aware how are you answering questions, questions to your staff, leading your team, questions to clients and customers, prospective clients and customers and so on.

Dr. Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (22:54):

Think about this. His framework provides a way to provide better answers or come up with alternative answers maybe you hadn’t thought about. I encourage you to get a copy of his book and take a look at his website and explore his research and what he’s doing. I find it fascinating and worth your time to invest into. So that’s the episode today, folks. Please make sure you subscribe to the podcast and give us a review. And remember, if you or anyone you know might be ready to franchise our business or take their franchise company to the next level, please connect with us at Thanks for tuning in, and we look forward to having you back next week.

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