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Applying classic questioning techniques

Applying classic questioning techniques

The ability to ask questions is perhaps one of the most under-utilized skills in communications. Great managers have the ability to ask brilĀ­liant questions and we can all become more effective at asking questions of others. The ability to ask questions allows us to achieve a number of objectives that are all vital in communicating with others:

  •  Gather information on issues.
  • Explore peoples’ feelings and attitudes.
  • Provoke thought and further discussion.
  • Help someone think through a problem.
  • Seek clarification on a point or issue.
  • See how somebody reacts or responds to our ideas, approach or style.

As already emphasized we are far too inclined to talk rather than ask questions, so developing a toolkit of effective questioning techniques can be a valuable asset. Listed below are the classic types of questions we might use:

  • Open-ended: so how do you view the situation? What do you think about the proposal?
  • Closed: so you have a problem with the plan then? So you agree with the proposal then?
  • Extending: in addition to the cost concerns what other issues worry you?
  • Leading: so as you see the strengths of the approach you can agree with the next steps?
  • Loaded: so you clearly dislike the design?

Multiple: so I would like to get your reactions to the timescales and the resourcing issues as well as your overall view of the project?

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