TIB #36: How to Ask Questions That Reveal More

Written by Arno Jansen

Hello!

Ever had a conversation that turned into awkward silence?

Do you sometimes find yourself wondering what to say next?

We have all been there: Awkward conversations.

What if you knew how to ask questions that reveal more? What if you could keep the dialogue flowing? What if you could avoid awkward silences, and get the information or commitment you want? 

Well, you can after reading this.

Learning the right questions to ask will help you in all conversations. Social gatherings, business meetings, sales calls, all are easier when you learn to ask the right question at the right time.

Today I will show you 7 types of questions. You can use these as your tools during conversations. Avoid awkward moments, and get the information you want.

The benefits of asking questions

If you are the one asking the questions, you are the one controlling the conversation. Whether you are:

  • Gathering information
  • Find out someone’s opinion on a topic
  • Looking for consensus or commitment

Asking the right question at the right time will get you what you want.

These 7 types of questions are your tools

All these are powerful tools when used right. But, with great power comes great responsibility. So make it a habit to practice using them in all your conversations. That way, you figure out what works best for you in every situation.

Open-ended questions

Invite another person to share their thoughts or feelings. Useful for building rapport, establishing common ground, and getting to know someone better. 

Example: “What do you enjoy doing when work is over?”

Closed-ended questions

Useful for obtaining specific information, or clarifying details. Closed-ended questions can also entice another person to take a position on a topic. Limiting the number of possible answers steers the conversation in a certain direction.

Example: Are you a cat person or a dog person?

Clarifying questions

Ensure that you understand what the other person is saying. Useful for avoiding misunderstandings, building rapport and adding detail. 

Example: “Can you explain that a bit more?”

Leading questions

Used to steer the conversation in a specific direction. Also used to encourage the other person to agree with you. Leading questions can be manipulative. Adding humor can make it less manipulative and thus less threatening to the other person. Use this type wisely, as the other person may feel cornered or provoked. 

Example: “Don’t you think that everybody should focus on sustainability?”

Reflective questions

Encourage the other person to reflect on their thoughts and feelings. Useful for building self-awareness and gaining insight into the other person’s perspective. 

Example: “How do you feel about that?”

Hypothetical questions

Useful for exploring possibilities and potential outcomes. Encourages creative thinking and helps to imagine different scenarios. 

Example: “What if [scenario] happened?”

Fun or creative questions

Useful for lightening the mood and building rapport. Can also be a playful way to learn more about the other person’s interests and personality. 

Example: “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?”

Ok, now what?

Now that you are more aware of the power of questions, it is time to start practicing! Practice makes perfect, and you will start to experience a change in your conversations.

You will open yourself up to new perspectives, ideas, and opportunities. You will gain clarity and deepen your understanding of a person or situation. And most importantly, it helps you build stronger relationships.

That’s all there is to it. 

I hope you found this useful. If you did, please do one or both of these things:

1. Let me know how this helped you, or what you struggle with. 

2. Share this with someone who can benefit from reading this. That’s it for this week, thank you for reading.

Have a great day!
Arno

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