Type of questions
Closed questions invite a short-focused answer- answers to closed questions. They can often be binary type - either right or wrong, either yes or no etc.
They are usually easy to answer - as the choice of answer is limited - they can be effectively used early in conversations to encourage participation
By contrast, to closed questions, open questions allow for much longer responses and therefore potentially more creativity and information
A leading question, usually subtly, points the respondent’s answer in a certain direction.
Asking an employee, ‘What good you found about the latest benchmarking reports?’
In a very subtle way, it raises the prospect that maybe they are not finding the latest benchmarking report so good
Clarifying questions help us better understand what has been said. In many conversations, people speak past one another. Asking clarifying questions can help uncover the real intent behind what is said. “Can you explain it a bit?” and “Why do you think so?”
Questions can also be categorized by whether they are ‘recall’ – requiring something to be remembered or recalled, or ‘process’ – requiring some deeper thought and/or analysis
‘Which is the deepest ocean?’
‘How can we reduce a step from our production assembly line?’
Evaluative questions usually require sophisticated levels of cognitive and/or emotional (affective) judgment.
Can you compare the performance of our major competitor in APAC region and EMEA region?
Rhetorical questions are often humorous and don’t require an answer
Two men are having a disagreement in a bar. One says "Do you want me to punch you in the face?" Of course not.
Rhetorical questions are often used by speakers in presentations to get the audience to think – rhetorical questions are, by design, used to promote thought
“If all these architectures are already built then why do we call them building?”
We can use clever questioning to essentially funnel the respondent’s answers – that is asking a series of questions that become more (or less) restrictive at each step, starting with open questions and ending with closed questions or vice-versa
"Tell me about your most recent holiday.""What did you see while you were there?" "Were there any good restaurants?""Did you try some local delicacies?"
Adjoining questions are used to explore related aspects of the problem that are ignored in the conversation. Questions such as, “Can you think of alternate ways we can establish our supremacy in the market through this TV Ad?” or “What are the related uses of this technology?” fall into this category.
Our laser-like focus on immediate tasks often inhibits our asking more of these exploratory questions, but taking time to ask them can help us gain a broader understanding of something.
Elevating questions raise broader issues and highlight the bigger picture. They help you zoom out. So, you can ask, “Taking a step back, what are the larger issues?” or “Are we even addressing the right question?”
To make sure we are asking right questions, we can use frameworks. They will guide us, clarify our thought process, keep us on the track and move us in a progressive manner.
This post is part of the Art of Asking Questioning. Other segments of this series -