How to Ask Questions That Wake-Up People
Life changes after you change the way you think. Questions explode assumptions.
You resist statements. But curiosity penetrates defiance.
Stupid questions invite dimwit answers. “Why did you hit your sister?” anticipates an excuse you don’t want to hear. “What did you do?” invites responsibility.
“Don’t you agree?” insults intelligence.
“How are you?” isn’t the smartest thing to ask if you don’t want an honest answer.
The best question:
The best question is specific. Ask a stranger, “How are you?” Ask your friend how he slept last night.
The best question wakes up sleepy brain cells. “What’s working?” makes negative people think.
The best question is the second question.
A leader I work with just got back from vacation. I was eager to ask if he looked forward to getting back. He was. My second question provided opportunity for reflection. “What were you eager to get back to?”
Make the first question easy to answer and use it as a platform for the next.
When someone answers a question, ask a question about their answer.
A second question is a pick and shovel.
- I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Could you say more about that?
- That seems important to you. What’s important about that to you?
- What are three options? Which option do you want to try? What’s next?
Tip: Ask questions that lead to action.
What are some of the best questions?
15 Questions that Change the Way People Think
Two Rules that Make You Look Smart When You Ask Questions
The Book of Beautiful Questions (Warren Berger)
Asking Powerful Questions (ri.gov)
25 Powerful Coaching Questions to Get You Where You Want to Go (Jesse Lyn Stoner)
The Surprising Power of Questions (HBR)
The Science of Asking Great Questions (AMA)
Now That’s a Great Question (Bob Tiede) Free download
If you want more information on how to ask questions, what questions to ask
See Bob Tiede The Godfather of asking questions at https://leadingwithquestions.com/
Question 1: What information do you need from me?
Question 2: How do you plan to use that information?
Which is much better than giving them the information after getting the answer to Question 1, because they may not be asking for the right information and you may not be the right person to give it to them.
Love your questions 1 and 2… It truly puts the responsibility back in the hands of the receiver in a positive manner.
I’m in a company where they don’t (really) want me to ask questions. My questions are, unfortunately, the ones that make their jobs harder. The questions that are asked, though, make the company safer – less at risk. My questions serve a purpose for the benefit of the team but aren’t always received this way.
How do I accomplish the goal of asking these questions and, ultimately, getting good answers that lead to a good (safer) direction, without being the bad guy?
I wonder if there is a thoughtful way to aim for the second question while skipping the first? A bad poorly planned first question can derail the following ones!
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