by Anna Empey
Young children typically ask many questions. Why this? What is that? They are curious and they are trying to understand the world around them through asking questions. Asking questions is an important part of expanding their knowledge base and helping them figure out their role in the world, and the roles of others.
As adults, sometimes we stop asking questions and because we have experience connecting and understanding those around us, we make decisions based on what we see and how we interpret what we see. The role of making some assumptions precedes our need to ask questions, and in some ways this is good and in other ways this limits our ability to fully understand what is happening in the world around us.
The ability to connect and communicate honestly with others, is a sign and characteristic of a good leader. Asking questions is one way that can foster and build this connection with others. Asking questions with the intent of listening, and the desire to understand who we ask a question to will strengthen the connection with those around us. Without the willingness to listen, and to be open to their answers and perspective we are limiting and inhibiting communication.
Questions come in many forms and utilizing different forms for different situations can help strengthen the connection with others, opening the windows and doors to communication.
Different Types of Questions
Closed Questions| This kind of question typically brings a direct response, yes or no. Sometimes there is a list of options someone can choose from as their answer, or they are being asked to identify specific pieces of information. ie: What is your name? Do you have a cat? Did you travel by car, or by plane? These questions are great for getting those very specific tidbits of information but without open-ended questions they will not create an open dialogue those we are striving to communicate with.
Open-Ended Questions| What? Why? and How? are questions that typically start a conversation, and can be used to continue the conversation. Typically there is not a wrong or right answer. Starting the conversation with an open ended question can be helpful in getting a conversation started. The purpose of this question is to get more than a one word answer, and to help you start a dialogue that helps you not only understand what happened, but what they are feeling and thinking about it.
Leading Questions| Some open ended questions are leading and attach a feeling or bring a judgement to them ie: Did you have a good time sampling product today? This changes a persons answer because they feel that feeling or they have to make a judgement call about how sampling went. Individuals will be less likely to tell you if they had a bad day, or that they had some fears or challenges to overcome because you asked if it was good. Other examples of leading questions are: Is the compensation plan hard to understand? Are you enjoying the wonderful benefits from 1ViZN products?
Non-Leading Questions| When asking non leading open-ended questions you are more likely to get a more complete answer with the feelings of the individual. Because they do not associate a judgement or a feeling with the non-leading question, there is no repercussion or negativity if they give an honest answer that is different than the feeling or judgement in a leading question. ie: Tell me a little more about how sharing the product with others is going? Are there any questions you have about the compensation plan? How are the 1ViZN products working?
Recall & Process Questions | These kinds of question require some kind of thought or analysis for the response to be made clear for the person asking the question. The answer for a recall question is built upon fact(s). ie: What are the natural health benefits from the fruit Acai? Process questions are answered based on opinion and thought process. ie: What skills do you already have that will help you be successful in building your 1ViZN business? or What support or skills do you feel you need in order to build your 1ViZN business?
Using all of these different question types cleverly to guide and understand the conversation can be helpful. Starting with questions that are less evasive and direct and working towards very direct questions or vice versa, can be helpful in getting to the core of the conversation.
- Tell me a little bit more about how sharing the product with others is going?
- How are 1ViZN products working for those you have sampled?
- Has it been hard for you to follow up with those you sample?
- What kinds of challenges are you having that would make it easier to sample or to follow up?
- Are there certain things you would like to learn more about at 1ViZN so that it is easier for you to share?
- Do you want to learn more about the compensation plan, the ingredients in the products, or the Jeep it! Program?
This example shows different types of questions. The right questions lead to finding a solution to help someone that may be having a hard time with the compensation plan.
Asking good questions is an art, and learning the order to ask specific types of questions is part of that art. Each conversation is different, with different needs, and with different objectives. Before you have a conversation sometimes it is helpful to figure out what you are trying to communicate, and throughout the conversation also listen and try to figure out what the other person is trying to communicate to you. Asking questions from both sides can be very helpful as this can clarify what the other person is saying.
What kinds of questions do you use to start a conversation with a Team Member? a Friend? a Stranger? Please Comment Below.