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16 Ways you can Use Questions

16 Ways You Can Use Questions

16 Ways You Can Use Questions

Asking questions is the key to good communication.

Here are 16 ways you can use questions to improve your communication skills:

  1. Gain factual information.
  2. As a greeting.
  3. As a polite request
  4. As a form of teaching. (The Socratic method of teaching)
  5. Rhetorical questions, (not meant to be answered).
  6. To cast doubt on what another has said.
  7. To gain minor agreements.
  8. To control the conversation.
  9. To evade answering a question.
  10. To introduce a presupposition.
  11. To hurt somebody's feelings.
  12. To inspire positive emotions.
  13. To trigger a new direction of thought.
  14. To discover how a person feels.
  15. To discover another person's opinion.
  16. To tell jokes.

1. Gain factual information.

The most obvious type of question is the straightforward request for information:

What is the capital city of the USA?

2. As a greeting.

How do you do?

How's it going?

3. As a form of teaching. (The Socratic method of teaching).

If all fish have scales, lay eggs and are cold blooded; then let me ask you a question:

Are dolphins' fish or are they mammals?

4. As a polite request.

This is one of my favourite phrases, because it is so polite. "Would you please, (plus a specific request)."

"Would you please, send the documents to me before the end of today? Thank you."

5. Rhetorical questions.

Questions you ask that don't require an answer.

"Why me, God?"

6. To cast doubt on what another has said.

How do you know?

Where did you get that idea from?

Are you sure about that? Because I'm not.

7. To gain minor agreements.

A favourite trick of salesman, who call these types of questions, "Yes getters".

Quality is important, isn't it?

We are all concerned with the education of our children, aren't we?

They are cool, aren't they?

8. To control the conversation.

There is a concept called, "Conversation control". And the first rule of conversation control is, "Whoever asks the questions, controls the conversation".

Think of questions as the steering wheel in your car. Questions control the direction of travel.

So, if you want to control the situation, (conversation), you do NOT have to be the one talking. You need to be the one asking the questions.

9. To evade answering a question.

Criminals and politicians don't like answering questions. So, they evade, by questioning the question.

Q: Why were you at the town hall?

A: Why do you want to know?

10. To introduce a presupposition.

Why is the Prime Minister so incompetent?

Presupposes he is incompetent; we only have to discover why?

What are the electric companies going to do about the cancer caused by their microwave ovens?

Can you see the presupposition in the above question?

11. To hurt someone's feelings.

How come you are so stupid?

Why are you so selfish?

Are you all stupid in your family, or is it just you?

12. To inspire positive emotions.

How come you are so wonderful?

Why are you so kind to me?

Are you all intelligent in your family, or is it just you?

13. To trigger a new direction of thought.

So, enough about work: Where are you planning your next holiday?

Enough about me: Lets talk about you. Do you have family living nearby?

14. To discover how a person feels.

You look very red. Are you hot?

You look very pale. Are you cold?

You are shivering. Do you want me to turn the heating up?

15. To discover another person's opinion.

Now you have read my proposal, what do you think?

Do you have any recommendations or opinions?

16. To tell jokes.

Why do you never see elephants hiding in trees?

Because they are really good at it!

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About the Author: Chris Farmer

Chris

Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Further Reading in Communication - Clear Communication

  • Communication Skills: Clear, Rational and Positive
    Do people always understand what you mean, or do you leave ambiguities in your message? Learn how to make your communication clear, rational and positive, in order to engage people and get your ideas across and accepted.
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  • ​How can I make my communications skills better?
    How can I improve my communications skills? To a certain degree, your success is linked to your ability to communicate. If your communication skills are strong and you can easily express every idea and piece of information that you have, then you will be more convincing and persuasive. If you are...
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  • What are the Factors of Effective Communication?
    Being able to communicate effectively is vital to achieving your goals, as well as fostering good working relationships with colleagues. Great communication at work will benefit the sharing of creative ideas and problem solving.
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  • Three ways to improve your communication skills
    How can you improve your communication skills? Communication is important to you because you use your communication to gain the cooperation of others. You need the cooperation of others: you need cooperation from your colleagues, your suppliers, your customers, and your family. If you cannot gain the cooperative assistance of others...
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  • Delivering Effective Customer Service
    Customers are more demanding and less tolerant of poor service than they used to be. Therefore, it is essential that your organisation gives customer service great importance, and that staff are suitably trained in the key customer service skills.
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