The Bones of a Great Question

Last week we talked about how The Right Questions Can Change Your Life.  As you might imagine, given our belief in questions, we’re always trying to figure out the right ones to create engagement, ownership, and passion.

Inviting these into your conversations brings about collaboration and partnership which is transformative in work, family, and community relationships.

So, what goes into figuring out the right questions?

  • Get clear about your goals for the conversation
    • Most of us are moving so fast we rarely pause before beginning a conversation (or meeting) to define our goals. Yet, the questions will change dramatically depending on these goals.
    • If you want to create a sense of shared understanding you might ask, “I’m curious about what each of you know about this effort?”
    • If you want to create urgency you might ask, “What are the most critical hits we’ll take if we don’t get on this soon?” 
  • Think about your audience
    • Reflect on who will be a part of the conversation and how they relate to others in the discussion.
    • If you have a group that’s known one another for a long time, you could jump right in and ask, “What are our opportunities and risks at this point in the project?”
    • If it’s a new group of people who have never worked together, you will be more effective if you ask something like, “I’m excited to have this group together. Would each of you share a bit about your history with this project and why you’re pleased to be a part of this effort?”
  • Consider the context for the conversation
    • As you consider what questions to ask, reflect on the context of the discussion.
    • If you’re in a meeting that’s a one-time event and you’re not likely to meet with this same group again, you may want to share that you value their time and investment. And then add that you’d love to get a feel for their understanding of the current issues based on what they’ve been told.
    • If you’re meeting for several meetings, as often happens in a planning effort, you may always want to start with questions that re-engage the group and helps them feel more like a team. You might ask, “What needs to happen in this meeting to continue our momentum from our last meeting?”

Figuring out great questions can transform a flat discussion
into a powerful communication.

Stay tuned for next week when we’ll share some great examples of questions to support you as you step into your leadership.

If you’d like support in creating an environment of engagement and collaboration,
 contact us today about our Executive Coaching.

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