One of the most powerful means of engaging people is to ask a series of high quality or powerful questions.
What makes a powerful question?
- It is simple and clear
- It is thought-provoking
- It generates energy
- It focused inquiry
- It surfaces assumptions and clarifies meaning
- It opens new possibilities
Questions to clarify outcomes:
What do you really want? What is important about the outcome for you? Is it possible for you to achieve?
Questions to stimulate reflective and deeper level thinking:
What is it about our working relationship that you find most satisfying? Why might it be that our working relationship has its ups and downs?
Questions to clarify meaning:
What or how specifically?
Questions that begin with WHY?
Remember to use caution when asking questions that being with WHY.
Unless carefully crafted they can illicit a defensive response in others or force them into a mindset of post-hoc rationalization, both which are usually not very helpful if good communication is desired.