Interested or Committed?

Skylar Wooden and Katie Butler

May 14, 2017

Are you interested or committed? No, this isn’t a question about your relationship.

The answer to this question can tell you all you need to know about where someone stands. You can use this technique for traditional product sale or other situations where you can be unsure of someone’s intentions—for example, when you’re interviewing a candidate for a job.

It’s frustrating to walk away from a conversation where the person says “I’ll be sure to call you,” and you aren’t sure if they actually will. Asking “are you interested or committed?” will redefine that moment.

See also: Pitching Your Professional Brand.


You’ve just spent two hours meeting with a potential client. It seems that you’ve presented your professional brand well and the person is interested in what you have to offer.

You exchange information. “I’ll call you!” they say. Will they, though? You think the meeting went well, but you will have to wait and see. Had you asked one simple question, you would know whether or not the meeting went in your favor.

Are you interested, or are you committed?

We know what you’re thinking. This sounds aggressive. It doesn’t have to be. Your tone goes a long way. At the end of a sale or after you’ve interviewed a candidate, say “Are you interested, or committed?” The person you’re talking to is just as unsure about how the interaction went. They will appreciate you putting the question out there.

Their answer helps to guide the rest of the interaction. If they’re interested, you exchange information and let them know they can call you whenever they’d like to talk more. If they’re committed, you know that they plan to follow this through to the end. You exchange information, set up another meeting, and talk about logistics. You have successfully removed doubt. No one wastes effort.

Other Applications

In the previous scenario, replace the word “client” with “applicant.” Applicants often apply to several jobs at once and accept all offered interviews. It can be frustrating to know that you’ve spent valuable time on someone who is testing out the waters. By asking if they’re interested or committed, you are giving the candidate an out. You both know that this may or may not work out. Opening a conversation about it only benefits both parties.

Our culture is heavily based on etiquette. We are so wrapped up in being polite that we often lead people to believe we are committed to something for the sake of not hurting their feelings. While this seems like the friendly thing to do, we’re setting false expectations. We could all use a bit more candor in our business interactions.

This technique can be used in many circumstances in any field—nonprofit fundraising, project management, leadership. This question has endless possibilities, and a straightforward answer.

Give it a try!

We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment below. Stay up to date with all things Pare and Flourish by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram now. You can also subscribe to our newsletter where we’ll keep you updated on upcoming events, books we’re reading, and products we love. Thanks for reading!