5 easy questions  

I have lots of options

PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Asking Qs (Part 2)

SITE: “The Value of Questions” monograph by Professor B.F. Plybon


EFFECTIVE Questioning
There is no such thing as a stupid question – except if you aren’t interested in the answer. However, not all Qs are created equal. Different situations call for different types. Along with learning how to use Qs, effective questioning is also the ability to listen to the answer, & suspend judgment. Letting go of our preconceived needs & opinions make it possible to get the most info possible in a situation. This requires being intent on understanding what the other person is really saying. What’s behind their words?
No matter how smart or experiences we may be, much of the time we’ll never guess what a person will say if we just ask “What do you mean?”

The following 2 sets of Qs can help improve communication & understanding of anyone we want to stay connected to, whether family, friends or in business. Modify the Qs according to the situation.
1. What do you think / feel?
This Q stops the questioner from talking too much.
2. Why do you think / feel that?
Once the person shares what they think or feel, this follow-up encourages them to provide the reasoning behind their thinking/ feelingI wonder
3. What leads you to believe this? (How do you know this?)
This Q encourages the responder to make connections between their ideas / feelings & things they’ve experienced, read & seen.
4. Can you tell me more?
Most people always have more to say, but need encouragement to ‘spill’. This Q can extend their thinking & share added evidence for their ideas
5. Do you have any questions for me?
Use a friendly tone with ALL Qs, so the person doesn’t feel attacked or pressured to give the ‘right’ answer.  (
* * * * * * * * * * * *
What seems to be the trouble? // What do you make of _________?
How do you feel about __________?
What concerns you the most about _________?
What seems to be the problem? // What seems to be your main obstacle?
What is holding you back from _________________?
What do you think about doing X this way?

Find out what someone has already done to resolve the problem
What do you mean by __________?
Tell me more about _______________ // What else?
What other ways did you try so far?
What will you have to do to get the job done?

so many QsOUTCOMES
Helps with negotiating a problem, or planning how to do something
How do you want ____________ to turn out?
What do you want? // What is your desired outcome?
What benefits would you like to get out of X?
What do you propose? // What is your plan?
If you do this, how will it affect ________ ?
What else do you need to consider?

What will you do? // When will you do it?
How will I know you did it? // What are your next steps?
(MORE ….. Also re. Listening. ~ Irene Leonard, Coach)
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
ASKING for info when trying to find out something:
1. Do as much preliminary research on your own, if possible (internet….)
2. Then, ask the RIGHT people – someone or someplace what might know what you’re looking for. Also, consider the complexity of the problem & the skill level of the people you want to ask

3. Don’t ask for permission unless it’s a delicate subject, the person is very busy or they’re an authority figure. If they’re busy, ask if you can come back later. If not – find another source
4. Ask directly & clearly. If the person you’re asking doesn’t know or doesn’t have time, they may redirect you to someone who can be of more helpask a lot of people

5. Ask more than one person for the same info, such as people from different walks of life, different genders , different backgrounds….in order to get bits & pieces that may eventually lead to a whole answer, and to get a rounded perspective. It can also provide the same info from many sources, so that you can figure out what info is legitimate & what’s just someone’s point of view.
EXP: As an adult – searching for an excellent orthodontist, at a ‘reasonable’ price – Marty interviewed 5 different doctors, & collated any info that overlapped, while checking out the location & ambiance of each dental office. Then chose the one that seemed to fit his need the best.

6. Be Patient. If you’re ‘depending’ on another person for an answer or solution, it may take longer than you’d like. Many people need time to process the Qs, figure out what they know or believe & then organize their thoughts, especially if it’s a new topic. Or they may just be busy or in a bad mood. If necessary, go away & come back later. Ask if they’re ready.  (Based on images from Deviant Art)



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