The art of questioning lies in knowing which questions to ask when.

Types of questions:

open (question does not invite any particular answer, but opens up discussion), eg what do you think about....... ?

closed (question is specific and must be answered with a yes or a no, or with details as appropriate), eg do you ever read the company's newsletters?

fact finding (question is aimed at getting information on a particular subject), eg what percentage of the staff read the newsletter?

follow‐up (additional question is intended to get more information or to elicit an opinion), eg is this a good signal compared with last time?

feedback (question is aimed at getting a particular type of information), eg do you think that communication within the company has improved?

Ask specific questions if you want to hear specific answers.

‐ used open‐ended questions, ie unable to give a "yes/no" answer, to gain insight into the other person's character, and to invite a signal; write a list of questions before you start a meeting.

‐ do not be afraid to pause while thinking of your next question.

‐ speak in as natural a tone as possible to create a warm environment

. As an interesting side‐line, during puberty our ability to read non‐verbal signals is put on hold, ie

"...brains scans showed that a particular area of the prefrontal cortex was smaller in teenagers than it was in children. One explanation maybe that the transition to adulthood, in brain and body, calls for a massive internal effort......certain brain areas shrink back to allow others natural resources ‐ neuronal material, neurotransmitters, glucose..."

Robert Winston, 2003

(sources: Robert Heller, 1998; Alan Pease et al, 2002; Robert Winston, 2003; The Economist, 2013)


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