Today, I want to touch on an important issue, which is very useful for you in your job as a trainer and / or facilitator, but its also generally useful in your professional and private life: the targeted use of questions.
Questions are already useful before the start of your training session / workshop (for example as part of the assignment clarification conversation) and you will benefit from them no later than at the start as they will provide you with more information for a specific implementation. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask a lot of questions, especially at the beginning of the training session / workshop. This does not make you look ignorant, but shows your clients and participants, that you are really interested in their expectations and goals. Only if you have a lot of background knowledge about your client, your theme and your participants, can you create a good relation with your counterpart and subsequently guide them well.
If you ask good questions, the answers can sometimes pre-empt the solution to the problem. Good questions bring clarity for both sides. Here are some possible features of appropriate questions, such as in facilitation, that we have come up with during a facilitation training:
However, asking the RIGHT questions is not easy even in a conflict-free situation and when it is about a critical issue, it becomes even more important to select appropriate questions, because it is important to not lose contact with your counterpart and to simultaneously get satisfying instead of evasive answers.
There are innumerable question types – one of the most important are probably the inviting questions. This includes for example the open question – the classic among the questions – where the respondent is invited to respond in any conceivable form (this however also allows evasive and superficial answers)
The exact opposite is represented by the closed question, which basically can only be answered with YES or NO.
In between there is an almost inexhaustible range of questions – to be selected according to whichever target or result you want to achieve with your question. Each question is fundamentally suggestive in its substance, because they always steer the thinking into a certain direction. And that is all right, if the intention behind it is to really learn something from your counterpart and to better understand his/her world through the question.
To conclude I, of course, have a question for you: Should we expand on this subject more deeply, or is this first insight into the QUESTIONS topic enough for you? (as you can see, an alternative question is a bit more open than a closed question and thus represents a good balance between these two types of questions).