There are basically five types of questions you can use to obtain information:
Closed questions invite a straightforward, factual response – often a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Close questions often begin with the words:
Closed questions are best for finding out straightforward, factual information.
Open questions cannot be answered with a simple, factual, one-word response. Instead, they invite the listener to carefully consider the question and then respond in detail with their ideas, thoughts, views, suggestions and opinions.
Open questions are best to obtain opinions, ideas, views and suggestions.
Leading questions can be used to gain acceptance and support and are often used in selling situations.
Leading questions should be used sparingly, and with caution because people on the receiving end of a leading question can often feel pressurized.
How often do you use leading questions?
Probing questions like open ended questions, rely on keywords How, What, Where, When and Who and are usually used to gather information about feeling rather than facts. They encourage the listener to examine and reflect on their underlying feelings and emotions.
Probing questions can be effectively used during appraisals, grievance and disciplinary meetings, or when you find yourself managing conflicts which have arisen between people on your team.
Clarifying questions should be used at anytime when you don’t understand the message. This happens when the speaker:
Examples of clarifying questions include:
Regardless of whether you are sending or receiving the communication it is your responsibility that you:
Excerpts from The University of Leicester Diploma in Management – Resource Development International (RDI) Jamaica. www.rdijamaica.com
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