In the business context we are usually encouraged to ask questions to solve problems, get to root cause or create a solution. In the virtual realm it can be very useful to use questions as an opportunity to stimulate thinking, expand awareness and create options. This is unique given that most virtual callers may be working more autonomously than those who work side by side. It is also likely that in a virtual setting that each team member’s situation is unique, influenced by the local level context they operate within.
In shifting from a more advisory questioning stance to one that stimulates more self-reflection, and thinking we want to adopt more of a coaching style. In this way we want to ask questions that help to expand options, create new insights, connect the dots, deepen awareness, or create clarity.
Note that the types of questions which are asked for each one of these may look and sound different.
In general, powerful questions to use in the virtual space:
- Are short, and to the point. Question may only be 5-6 words in length
- Are open ended. Questions that start with WHAT usually expand the conversation the most. What questions can invite exploration, or connectivity amongst points.
Ask only one question at a time! We have all been in conversations where a volley of questions have been asked. Just ask one question at a time and leave space for the person to respond.
Leave some gaps for silence. In today’s busy world we do not have a lot of time for silence. While we need it, it can feel uncomfortable for both virtual attendees and leaders alike. Let people know how long they are going to have to pause, think and write things out. Be intentional with the use of silence.
Early next week I’ll be posting some of my favorite questions for virtual and remote meetings. Stay tuned and even consider signing up for our blog feed (to your left).
Have a great Wednesday,
Potentials Realized | Coaching Team Leaders
Team and Leadership Development | Coaching | Retreats.
Follow us on Twitter @Teams365
Connect with us to be the first to know more about launch events around my newest book - Effective Virtual Conversations - coming out later this spring/early summer!