Daily Quote: ” Sometimes the most unique connection and learning happens when others are encouraged to talk about themselves. Questioning and active listening are the best and most appreciated way to show others you care”. Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.
Reflection: Questions can be an effective way for you to show others that you curious about them and want to get to know them better. Effective questioning and active listening promote unique connections, progress and possibilities, and typically lead to two-communications, discoveries, understanding, and solutions.
A powerful question, for example, might be, “What are your goals for this year?” “What are the critical responsibilities for job”? “How do you show gratitude for others support”? and “What do you think our customers need to refer us to other companies”?
When the right questions are asked we can connect with others and have the possibility for problem solving and opportunity finding.
In the following, I will discuss some ways of questioning that lead to connections and open-up conversations. Also we will examine the other side of the coin where the wrong type of questions shut down conversations and move others away from us.
Let’s review a few types of questions to see which ones work better in developing rapport and connections with others.
- Open ended questions. Are used so the other person can explain or provide more information which creates more of a two-way conversation and unique connect. Most open questions start with What? or How? Questions. For example –What are we going to do with our credit card debts? How are we going to pay for the kid’s college tuition? Another way to open a conversation up is to say – “tell me” more about your ambition to be a doctor…
- Closed questions. Are questions that can be answer with a simple “yes” or “no” and actually close down dialogue between to people. For example, Are you going to the game today?
- Exploration questions. These types of questions generally, start with What? How? Where? or When? They facilitate exploration and provide an opportunity for learning more about the other person who you are interacting with. They provide more opportunity to gather information and lead to more understanding which is the basis of empathy.
- Judgmental questions. By contrast, a question that is classified as a “judging” make others defensive and less forth coming. Questions like this are more closed-minded, snarky and critical which lead to withdrawal a very little productive dialogue. They focus on problems rather than solutions and often lead to unproductive outcomes. Judging questions lead to negative energy and stop conversation before it has a chance to really get started. For example, “Are you responsible for this mess? Or “Why aren’t we selling more in this quarter? By the way most people find Why? very difficult to answer and most of the time “just make shit up” to get the person off their back And so on.
Self-Coaching Challenge. Ask a colleague to make note of the kind and frequency of questions you ask at your next staff meeting. After you get the feedback decide what you are going to do to improve the openness and flow of your questions.