Hello current and future Leaders,
One of my favourite segments in my modular Management-Trainings is when I discuss with the participants the importance of asking good questions.
For a good conversation flow it is crucial to ask the right questions. Sounds like an easy enough concept, however, asking good questions is a craft and it takes reflection, time and effort to perfect. When you ask a good clear question, the person you are talking to understands exactly what you mean, is not confused and is probably able to answer in a more definitive manner.
“Good questions” are short, concise and easy to understand. Good questions are not leading; leading questions assume an answer and don’t leave room for a variety of responses. Good questions are crafted from curiosity and get the other person to think.
Here are a few tips on how to become better at asking good questions and make conversations more effective and informative:
Reflect on the type of questions you ask!
How many of your questions start with “Did you …?”, or “Have you …?” “Was xyz …?”. These are closed questions and invite a yes or no answer. Instead, ask open questions starting with “How …?”, “Where …?” “What …?”, etc. Open questions give the other person a choice and provide space to elaborate. You may find open questions especially useful when you conduct performance reviews, set goals, have one-on-ones with your team members.
At times, you may just want to find out if as task has been accomplished – a closed question does the job then.
However, generally good questions are open questions!
Listen intently and with curiosity!
You will find that an increased focus on listening to what the other person is saying will automatically generate questions in your mind. If you think about the next question while the other person is still speaking, you will miss what they are saying and perhaps miss the doorway to a better question.
Get comfortable with silence!
Silence can really be golden. It is perfectly o.k. to think about your next question when the other person has finished speaking. It is even more okay to be quiet and wait for an answer, giving time and space for the other person to think.
There are no stupid questions!
Yes, this is true. When you are unclear about something – don’t be afraid to ask. This avoids misunderstandings and mistakes and is an underused “skill”.
Which of the above tips resonates with you? Which one are you willing to try out at the next opportunity? Start practicing when you speak with friends. What difference are you noticing?
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If you find this inspiring and you would like to explore further how we could work together, I am delighted to meet with you for a 30-minute-free-of-charge-info-session