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Asking Questions can be 'POWERFUL'. Check how?

Updated: Oct 6, 2022

Telepathy, mind control, pre-cognition, clairvoyance, x-ray vision, where would our super-heroes be without their super powers?

If you have ever dreamed of being a super hero, someone powerful, and someone people look up to, well today's your lucky day! You get to acquire your very own super power and you can use it for good, evil or however you like.

Even though we, normal folk don’t have sci fi superpowers, we do possess the capabilities to have one of the most important and powerful workplace interpersonal skills superpowers out there- the superpower of asking questions. While we may not stop and think about or even consider asking questions as a superpower, it is.

Asking questions is a very powerful way to learn.

Asking questions can eliminate confusion.

Asking questions can help to guide a conversation in the direction that you want it to go – like lawyers. Asking questions helps to stimulate creativity and to generate ideas, to problem solve. Asking questions helps us to gain empathy by better understanding someone else’s viewpoint and can help to strengthen a relationship.

Questions are the best way to gain deeper insights and develop more innovative solutions. So with all those benefits why don’t some people ask questions. For one thing, people often assume too much and then don’t bother with finding out anymore. Others are simply afraid that by asking questions they will be seen a poor light and look weak or ignorant.

Some people are in such a hurry that stopping to ask a question will somehow slow them down.

Asking questions is like any superpower. You have to know when to use it. You also have to decide whether you are using your questions for good or for evil. Are you using questions to manipulate or humiliate or embarrass someone or are you using them to gain information.

And that is why asking questions is a combination of a science and a skill but unlike a superpower, it takes time to acquire. The skill is evident in your tone of voice, your body languages and the science is all about knowing how to mix and combine different types of questions to get the results you are after.

You have to know how you construct your question and in knowing how to use different kinds of questions. Our superheroes know that asking questions is a sign of strength and intelligence – not a sign of weakness or uncertainty.

Questioning skills means that you become aware of how to focus on the purpose of your questions. Some common tactics that you can use in asking questions. fit three kinds of questioning based on whether they are preliminary, probing or possibility questions:

  1. Preliminary – Initial information and clarification of facts and feeling – mainly descriptive.

  2. Probing – Progressing to probing and analysis.

  3. Possibilities – Future and possibility questions.

There is an irony here when it comes to questions, and that is that not all of them are good. A bad question has the person trying to guess what you are thinking, like a leading question, where you’re fishing for a particular answer. If you know the answer, why are you asking? And a bad question can be much more difficult to answer than a good question.

Another problem with bad questions is that they often seem to people as if you’re driving for a “yes.” Can you do this by Tuesday? This phrasing of the question might be a subtle manipulation. Most people don’t really want to say no ,so if the question makes it even harder for them to say no when that’s what they want to say, you have created an uncomfortable, defensive atmosphere. A bad question can derail a conversation and deflate someone instantly.

Technique is everything in the science of asking questions. Questions that start with “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “how,” or “why” have high probability of though out response These question starters form the basis for discovery and not challenge. They elicit information rather than make put someone on the defensive.

Researchers have long known that asking questions which only allow a yes or no answer are inhibiting. Consider the following, which is better?

“Is this the best that you can do?” versus “What is the best that you can do?” ; “Is this something you want to do?” versus “How can I make this work for you?” ; “Can we work on delivery dates tomorrow?” versus “When can we work on delivery dates?”

See how much more value there is in asking open-ended questions, which allow the respondent to expand, explain or add value.

When you begin a question with “would,” “should,” “is,” “are,” and “do you think” you are limiting the scope of the answer. Narrow the scope of you questioning by asking closed ended questions. These should be used when you want to checking facts, clarifying a point or provide direction to the information being gathered.

Questions are also links to other questions. So, being curious then becomes another super power.

More coming ahead.. stay tuned.


By- Audrey Halpern (⭐️Learning and Development Consultant⭐️Trainer⭐️Facilitator)



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