The Art of Asking Great Questions by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
The more you learn about the people surrounding you, the better you will become at developing their skills, your own skills, and the better you will be at satisfying your customers. One of the most important pieces of being a good leader is being a good communicator. And, one of the most important aspects of being a good communicator is being able to ask great questions.
Knowing What to Ask
Asking the right questions helps you to get to the bottom of a situation, so that you can learn from it. This aspect of asking questions involves the “who” “what”, “when”, “where” and “why” that helps you to truly understand the situation. Asking the right questions involves digging deeper to understand the reasons behind the simple answers.
Learning to ask the right questions can help you to get to know employees and customers better, so that you can target your conversations and actions for the future, as well as helping you to focus on the important details of right now. Alternating factual questions with questions about feelings and perspectives will help you to get to the bottom of any situation. You’ll learn more about how people think and about their culture and belief systems, since these things affect their overall behavior and perspective.
Knowing How to Ask
Asking the right questions is important, but so is asking the questions the right way. When you take the time to phrase questions properly and ask them in the right tone of voice, you are certain to get more and better information. It is important to make your audience feel comfortable. When others are threatened by your questions, or how you ask them, you’re certain to miss out on some of their reasons, their concerns and their motivations. Keep your tone calm and friendly. Learn to mask irritation in your voice and facial expressions that give away your thoughts.
Body language is also an important part of knowing how to ask questions. Pay attention to your posture and how you hold your body when talking to others. It is critical to not look or sound confrontational when asking questions.
Asking the right questions in the right way can help you develop into the leader and communicator you desire to be. As you learn more about those you work with, you’ll find more and more ways to improve yourself and your business.