The Art of Asking Questions
Learning how to ask questions can change everything in your life. I know for me, I used questions to transform my communication style from being entirely too directive to being curious. I have found myself being called a “good listener” which I know to not be true about myself at all. If people are calling me a good listener because of how I use questions in my conversations, then questions are the miracle drug for someone who is often thinking of my response rather than truly listening.
Here are some magic questions I have used in some of my hardest conversations.
When you are receiving constructive feedback from a boss or colleague that is making you feel defensive or that you don’t believe is actually true about you:
“Can you help me understand which behavior I should change to be more effective in this space?”
“How would that (meeting, incident, moment you are getting feedback on) have gone better if I had been more effective?
When you have to address something difficult with someone in your life either at work or at home.
“What’s one thing you have been thinking about over the last week that you haven’t been sharing with me?”
“I have something I need to address and I would like you to tell me how you would like me to address this with you in a way that continues to make our partnership successful?”
“What is the pit and peak of our interactions with one another over the last week?”
Questions I ask my kids to get them to communicate.
“What was the pit and peak of your day?” This will get you more information than asking “How was your day?”
“What’s one thing I did as your mom this week that made you better and what’s one thing that you wish I had done differently?”
“What’s one thing you did this week that made you proud and what’s one thing you felt regret about?”
The above questions work with your partner or spouse as well!
I challenge you to print this blog and use these questions in your communications practice. You are going to need to remember to pause before reacting in conversations. Questions can only be used effectively if you think before you speak. This makes the Art of Asking Questions even more important and successful because not only do you have conversations that are more impactful on your growth, you are learning to pause and really listen to what people are saying.
Can’t wait to hear how it works for you. Comment on this post and tell us which one of these questions was your favorite this week. I would also love to hear from you if you have some “magic” questions of your own.