- Don't you think it's better if __________________?
- Could you explain to me why _________________?
- I'm wondering why they ____________________?
I really wish people would turn these questions into statements that would more accurately reflect their thoughts:
- I believe it would be better if _________________.
- I'm angry about __________________________.
- It looks as if they _________________________.
What would be even better is if these same people could make their statement of belief, and then ask a follow up question that would lead to understanding and dialogue:
- I believe it would be better if _________________; how do you see the situation?
- I'm angry about __________________________; are you in a position to explain to me how this happened?
- It looks as if they _________________________; I'm wondering if you could explain the reasons behind their decision.
Questions - posed correectly - can be powerful tools in coming to an understanding of people and events. I sat in an interview the other day and wanted to understand what the individual was passionate about and what was their so-called line in the sand. I struggled to word the question (I DID NOT want to ask, "tell me what you are passionate about?" or "tell me what your line in the sand is?"). So I carefully worded my question as "tell me about a time that you lost it and became very angry over an incident." The response told me exactly what I wanted to know - and gave great insight into the HEART of this person.
Next time you get ready to ask a question, consider these few items:
- do you already know the answer you want to hear? if so, there's no need to ask the question
- is the question more of a statment of what you believe? if so, state it in a declarative form
- what do you really want to know? think hard about that before asking your question
- will the question move the conversation forward - or put up someone's defensive nature?
- how does this question fit within the context of what is being discussed at the given moment?
A final thought: if, at the end of the day, you were to do a tally of questions asked and statements made, which one would have the greater number? Consider that question as you go through this day - and the difference it makes depending on which side the scale falls.