Questions: How important are questioning techniques?

Questioning techniques: the ability to ask better questions are vitally important. We ask questions every day. Questions are a fundamental part of how we communicate with, and understand, other people and situations. They even form a major part of how we communicate with ourselves. The trouble with something so unconsciously entwined in our day to day activity is that we take it for granted. We don’t stop to think about its real value and as a consequence we get a little lazy and assume everything is working as it should be. Building your skill in questioning techniques adds tremendous value to your ability to build better relationships, whether those are personal or professional. Strong questioning techniques enable you to really understand the other person’s perspective.

It’s all about asking open questions right?

When you are teaching questioning skills and start talking to people about open and closed questions you tend to get a ‘yeah, yeah’ response. In other words, ‘I know, we have come across this before and I should be asking open questions’ – then their eyes start to glaze over.

In essence, it really is all about open questions. If your intention is to really understand someone or a situation, using open questions is the way to go. You may well have heard that typically, though not exclusively, open questions begin with What? When? Where? Which? Why? Who? and How? What could be simpler?

Well, the harsh reality is that most of us are actually really poor at asking questions. To begin with, we tend to ask many more closed questions than we think, but in the real world we often get a full response as if we have asked an open one. (Some of you will have noticed that the header for this section is actually a closed question). That’s fine for a casual conversation, but is much more of an issue when the conversation matters to you in some way.Once we make it past that first hurdle there are different types of open questions that serve different purposes. Different sequences of question types can be used in different situations and circumstances. Often, in real world situations, people believe they are asking great open questions when in fact, they have added large chunks of judgement and assumption, or are really seeking confirmation of their own views. This can lead to believing they have understood another person when in fact they have had their own thoughts reflected back to them, and as that was typically what they wanted to hear they believe it is the other person’s view.

George Bernard Shaw once said ‘the single biggest problem with communication is the illusion it has taken place’. Rarely is that illusion more evident than in the use of questioning.

I have been teaching questioning skills for many years in a range of contexts.  The good news: Questioning Techniques are a critical skill that can be learned. If you would like to develop your skills quickly and easily, use this link to receive a discounted offer. Where could you get a better return for such a small investment? Check it out for yourself.


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