Now I don’t want to disappoint you – this article is not going to answer the age-old question of ‘which came first, the chicken or the egg?’, or even, ‘is there life on Mars?’ Having said that, I hope it will point you in the right direction to improve your use of questioning as an interpersonal skill.
Questions can be useful tools to bring clarity, fuel conversation, build rapport, win clients, solve problems and show that we’re interested in what someone has to say – but we have to be careful what kind of questions we ask and how we ask them. No one wants to be interrogated!
Skillful communicators use questions as part of active listening – they make the person they’re talking with feel valued and able to express themselves more fully.
Closed questions can be answered with a few words, probably ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and are useful when you want a direct, factual response or to finish a conversation.
Open questions are a better way of getting more information or understanding something because they elicit a fuller response and get to the meaning behind what someone’s saying.
If you’re interested in finding out more, why not watch my video with tips for using questioning at networking events?