?? Questions ?? Open the Door

1 Apr

After a two week break, back to thoughts about listening. So far, we talked about listening with an open mind (being receptive) and listening with your eyes (being observant).  This week, let’s explore listening by asking questions.

You might be wondering … how can you be listening if you are talking?  That’s a great question:)

Asking questions is a way of showing someone how well you are listening and that you are interested in what they have to say.  Don’t we all like that?

But how do you use questions effectively?  By using them to get as much information as possible.

FE_DA_QuestionMark425_090612425x283So instead of asking your child “Do you like your new teacher?” which only encourages a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, try something like “How was your first day with your new teacher?” which inspires an entirely different kind of response. The person answering such an open ended question will probably respond with whatever is most important to him/her. “Mrs. Smith was great – she told us we are taking a field trip next week.” This answer provides a lot of information and is a great starter for a richer conversation.

Another tip for successful questioning is not to put the other person on the defensive. “Why?” is a classic example of an intimidating question. Can you feel the difference as you read “Why do you feel that way?’ and “Tell me more about how you feel?” It’s a completely different sensation for me.

Here’s an example of a question I used last week which worked beautifully. It was in the workplace and I asked someone “How can we help you be more successful?” and he proceeded to tell me about  things that would help him do his job better … including being on time.

Open ended questions are a powerful listening tool that open the door to a whole new world.




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