Have you ever been at a meeting and while listening to people make statements about what they think or believe you just switch off? Then all of a sudden somebody asks a powerful question and it instantly gets your attention. How ironic (or maybe not) is it that a question rather than a statement (answer) is much more likely to activate something within? This is a powerful insight for anybody engaged in conversations; which is just about everybody.
So what are the benefits of asking the right questions?
Control the Conversation
Good questions, often from the quietest person in the room, tend to lead a conversation down a particular path. Indeed the tone and content of a conversation are primarily driven by the person asking those questions. The key of course is to ask the question the answer to which everybody else could benefit.
The right questions typically make the conversation about the other person. Just as in the introduction paragraph, a good question makes people sit up and participate much more actively.
Be Non Judgmental
Right questions are always asked in a non judgmental fashion. Statements can be expressions of opinion that very often are interpreted as you are right and we are wrong. Judgment can fuel dissension even when the answer provided might be correct.
How often have you heard people say, “I wish I had thought to ask that question” or “that’s a really good question”? Great respect can be garnered for the person asking the right questions.
The right questions make people think, reflect and seek alternatives, all of which tap into both the logical and creative side of the brain.
Though one must acknowledge that all conversations can not be with questions alone, seek out more opportunities, where appropriate, to really enhance the conversation through curiosity (and questions). That’s what really good coaches and leaders do and eventually leads to the Right Answer.