When can someone actually continue?

Asking the right questions: 5 rules for questions that really get you ahead

The opinion of others can help you make good decisions. But incorrectly worded questions prevent helpful answers. How to phrase questions so that the answers really move you forward.

“Do you think that we should really be more accommodating to the customer?” And “Should we start the project all over again? Or continue as before? ”These two questions have one thing in common: You will not get any answers that will help you.

Jeff Haden, author of the management book "The Motivation Myth", writes in the US business magazine Inc.com about the problem that you often ask the right questions but formulate them incorrectly. He sets five rules for questions that will give you better answers.

In short

Formulate questions as precisely and briefly as possible. Haden advises asking questions in just one sentence if possible. “We have thought about it before, but we were never quite sure. That's why I would ask you to give me your opinion, because… “Phew, it's a long time, isn't it?

Instead of going back and forth and putting all your concerns and thoughts into the question, try “How can we solve this problem?” Or “How would you solve the problem?” This makes it easier for the person asked to focus on just the Focus question.

In order for this questioning technique to work, you must describe the problem in detail beforehand and give the person asked an overview of the situation.

Either and or avoid

Try to avoid either-or questions. “Do we make the logo blue or red?” Is not as good as “What color should our logo be?”. Because if you only offer two options, the person asked only thinks about these two - even if there might be alternatives that you may not have noticed.

An open question, on the other hand, is thought-provoking and does not limit. This also applies to questions that you think have only two possible answers.

Follow up

Even if you, as the boss, have the feeling that you have to have all the answers at hand: questions prevent misunderstandings. Then, if you get an answer that you don't fully understand, ask questions.

Haden says: “More important than anything else: don't pretend you understood something if you didn't understand it.” He recommends asking modestly: “I have to be honest: I'm not sure if I do understood what you said. But I would like that very much. "

Do not pretend answers

“Don't you agree that we've waited long enough?” When you ask this question, it's clear what answer you want. So depending on who you ask, you won't get an honest opinion - just hear what you want.

Instead, formulate the question more openly: “We haven't received any feedback after a week. What do you think we should do? ”This gives you more of a second opinion that can help you make decisions.

keep one's mouth shut

We ask questions because we want to hear the answer or opinion of the other person. If you talk all the time instead of listening, it is counterproductive. “You already know what YOU know. Great questions are supposed to find out what the other person knows, ”writes Hader. "Shut up and listen."