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Are You Asking the Right Questions?

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During a program or meeting, it is important that you are asking the right questions. Asking a close-ended question could lead to a lost opportunity or idea. Opening the room up to dialogue and idea sharing will make a huge difference in the results you get. Here are some top questions and their implementations.

CAN/DO QUESTIONS

These types of questions tend to be close-ended – typically a yes or a no answer. This can be effective for polling or testing agreement. Yet the questions do not engage, nor do they lead to thinking. Can/Do questions tend to lead to debate over which response is correct, and people usually take sides. Once a person takes a position in a conversation, they force others to have to take a position as well, which leads to positional behavior and not a lot of productive conversation happens. Often the team’s culture will become weakened. The train of thought becomes “if you were against me once, you likely will be against me again”.

WHY QUESTIONS

Only 18% of people can even answer a why question. Everyone else feels judged! The question format sounds like a parent or teacher punishing a child for doing something wrong. The question is associated with being wrong and having done something wrong. The challenge is that all what we all hear is judgment. We know you love to be effective, so the best thing would be to change your starting word. This eliminates the feeling of being judged. Ask what or how questions with curiosity and we will share all the information.

WHAT/HOW QUESTIONS

What and how questions inquire into a topic or thinking so everyone can contribute to the conversation. That means more engagement. Effective presenters know the importance of asking what and how questions – even rhetorical ones during their presentation because the human brain loves to answer questions. So instead of “Can we build the actions to achieve this plan?” shift to “What are the actions we would need to put in place to achieve this plan?” or “How would we achieve this plan?”. Ask open-ended questions then look expectantly around the room. If you normally tell people what to do, there may be silence for a while because people are not used to you allowing them to think. The more What & How questions you ask, the more actively engaged your participants will be, the more innovative approaches will get created, and the more you will need to listen and discern the right approach instead of telling your ideas/actions.

USE ‘COULD’ TO OPEN POSSIBILITIES

How and What questions become really powerful when you take Should out of the dialogue. Include a conversation on Should and Could – opening up possibilities versus shutting down possibilities.

WHAT COULD/HOW COULD

Could/How questions open up amazing possibilities for innovation. “How could we solve this quality issue?” Or push the brain to engage more with “What could we do to immediately affect occupancy?” Allow your participants to explore unique solutions of hybrids of ideas. Allow them to engage and build on top of others’ ideas. We call this layering. Everyone becomes responsible for an idea when it gets created together.

A LITTLE – OPENS THEM UP!

Use this modifier if people are afraid of you or intimidated by you. When you say, “I’m angry about this!”, people lose the ability to respond and become more defensive. Instead, add a softener, “I’m a little angry about this!” People can still respond and can actually hear you. It will engage people more for conversation. Here at Learn2, we are all about effectiveness. “A little…” makes you more effective.

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