People are not persuaded by what is said, they are persuaded by what they understand. The only way to understand anything is through the art of asking precise, concise, and impactful questions.
Every product ever made. Every challenge ever overcome. Every innovation ever achieved. All are the result of the answers to a question. Asking powerhouse questions is the foundation of success whereas failing to ask them is a prescription for certain failure.
Great questions enable you to add value to people so that people can multiply the value to other people. So what questions are the most efficient types to ask?
I first came across the 7 types in Michael Marquardt’s book Leading With Questions, and based on subsequent research and years of studying masters of the art and science of asking questions, I agree with his list.
Here are the 7 question types that, when mastered, consistently establish the environment from which breakthrough results are spawned:
1. Clarifying Questions
These questions do exactly as their name indicates – they enhance clarity.
2. Exploratory Questions
These questions are effective at helping to enable innovation and to create new insights.
3. Probing Questions
One of the most well-known question types because people often have experienced them (particularly during conflict and / or fact-finding discussions), probing questions are used to efficiently and effectively gather details.
4. Affective Questions
If you want to ascertain how people feel about something or assess their attitude towards something, ask an affective question.
5. Reflective Questions
Perhaps one of the least used types of questions, reflective questions generally are those that challenge assumptions.
6. Connecting Questions
If you want to evaluate systems and create connections to similar or even dissimilar products, circumstances, and situations, connecting questions are great for doing that.
7. Analytical Questions
Just as their name conveys, analytical questions are used to examine cause and effect.
These 7 question types form the basis of all brainstorming techniques, and highly innovative companies such as Apple, Intel, and IDEO are famous for their ability to continually innovate through questions. As the owner of a global management consulting and training business, one of the most powerful questions I’ve ever been taught to ask about the future is, “What do people need that they haven’t even perceived they need yet?”
If you want to boost your ability to solve problems, facilitate transformative learning, develop deep connections with others, and amass enormous influence, grow your ability to ask these 7 question types. As John Maxwell said, “The future belongs to the curious,” and “Good questions inform. Great questions transform.”
Our coaches are experts at developing and strengthening the questioning skills of managers, trainers, facilitators, and employees. Contact us today to get more information on the proven approach we use. We guarantee measurable improvement and, in many cases, our process will enable you to experience a truly life-changing transformation.
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