Click here to editYesterday’s post focused on the art of listening and three things you can do to boost your listening skills. Today’s post focuses on another area of communication – the art of questioning I’ve written quite a bit on this over the last few years, given the importance of the topic. Asking great questions of the team members we work with can help to create clarity, expand options, focus decision or gain new awareness. I would encourage you to take a look at some of the past posts I have written on this topic.
Key to asking great questions is the following:
Keep it short and concise. Some of the best questions are only 5-6 words in length. Many of us (myself included!) have a tendency to either go on-and-on with questions, or bury a question within a statement. Ask the question, let the person answer, and then move on.
Consider how you are going to start your question. Starting questions with a WHAT tend to pen up the space for exploration, dialogue and input HOW questions will upt us into a process - how to do things. WHY questions may shut down the conversation, especially if there is no, or low trust. WHY has a tendency to put people eon the defensive.
Pause after asking a question and really listen to what the person is saying. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we know what the person across from us is going to say., Allow for a pause and let the person respond. Consider how your body language is inviting the person into dialogue.
Here’s a short list of some of my favorite questions which can open up the space for dialogue:
As you think about this issue, what’s important?
What options exist?
What might be another way of looking at it?
What’s most important in the big picture? At the granular level?
What’s working? What’s not?
Why? Why not? (Notice – watch using a question which starts with WHY if there is low or no trust. These may put people on the defensive.
What’s the one action you want to take in the next 24 hours?
As a result of our conversation, what’s become clear for you?
Other posts which may be of interest to you:
Any of the six leadership questions series which you can view at http://www.potentialsrealized.com/apps/search?q=six+leadership+questions. Many of theses laser into specific areas such as trust, team development etc.
Have a great Wednesday,
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