Thoughts ...

Five steps to ask the right questions

Asking the right questions may be difficult – you may feel stupid or plainly uncomfortable – You may be under pressure and have been placed on the spot. 

Of all the skills you have – if we stripped all them all away there is only one that would allow you to recapture the lot and that is communicating, which involves heavily on asking questions.

It is believed in some circles that keeping quiet and be thought of as an idiot may be better than to open your mouth and proving it, although where urgency is present – speaking up may be your only option. Asking for help is a good thing, it’ll assist with speed and building your confidence. Time can be of the essence here, where delays may add to your pain. 

I have been asked during coaching – how to ask questions in a confident way and guess what? yes there are many approaches that depend on the situation and target audience but here are five steps that will help: 

1. Frame it – A lot of the time we blurt out what we want by the way of a number of  incorrectly-constructed sentences or questions. Start by ‘framing’ what you are talking about, include an item of fact (i.e. information we all agree on) and then ask questions. This makes the questions much more digestible by your audience.

2. Start High – Similarly with the above, you require your audience to follow your thought pattern, therefore start at a high level, slowing acknowledging understanding while moving on to the detailed information before asking your question. 

3. Seek Clarification – If you find the answers you are receiving are quite right, ask questions to seek clarification, this will help you target your questioning

4. Better Questions – As with the previous point, if you find the answers you are receiving aren’t quite right, consider asking better questions.

5. Focus on Results – Above all, throughout your questioning and the answers your hear don’t lose sight of the results you are looking for?

Above all – keep talking, asking questions and constantly seek better understanding.


Photo credit: Marco Bellucci / Foter / CC BY