Start with very basic, broad questions then move to more specific areas to clarify your understanding. Open questions are excellent – they give the other person or people chance to give broad answers and they open up matters. As we listen carefully to the answers we formulate further questions.
When someone gives an answer we can often ask, “Why?”. By giving the other person a limited choice of responses we get specific information and deliberately move the conversation forward in a particular direction. Asking many questions is very effective but it can make you appear to be inquisitorial and intrusive. So it is important to ask questions in a friendly and unthreatening way. Try to pose each question in an way and ensure that your body language is relaxed and amicable.
The better approach is keep asking questions to deepen our comprehension of the issues before making up our mind. Once we have mapped out the main points we can use closed questions to get specific information. Closed questions give the respondent a limited choice of responses – often just yes or no.
Do not ask accusing questions. “What do you think happened?” will probably get a better response than, “Are you responsible for this disaster?” Do not jab your finger or lean forward as you as put your requests. Try to practice asking more questions in your everyday conversations. Instead of telling someone something, ask them a question. Intelligent questions stimulate, provoke, inform and inspire. Questions help us to teach as well as to learn.