Questioning Skills

Importance of Questioning Skills

Questioning Skills is important in every walk of life because:

  • It is about how information is sought and received between people.
  • It is crucial for working successfully with others.
  • It enables to maintain clarity in relationships.
  • It allows to accomplish tasks while working with both individuals and groups.
  • It motivates people to understand others.
  • It helps to understand others.
  • It creates a comfortable, and trustful situation, while trying to understand a person/task.


Key Questioning Techniques

  • There are various questioning techniques that can be used in different situations. By using the appropriate kind of questioning, you can gain the information, response or outcome that you want even more effectively while handling a task/situation/relationship. Some of the questioning techniques are:

Funnel Question:

  • Asking funnel questions involves starting with general questions, and then zooming-in on a point in each answer. Then, you move on to asking more and more detail at each level. Hence, generally, when using funnel questioning, start with closed questions. As you progress through the funnel, start using more open questions.

Open Question:

  • Open questions evoke longer answers.
  • Open questions usually begin with what, why, how.
  • Such a question asks the respondent for his or her knowledge, opinion, or feelings.

Closed Question:

  • Closed questions generally evoke a single word or very short, factual answer.

Leading Question:

  • Leading questions are asked to try to lead the respondent to your way of thinking.
  • It is important to note here that leading questions tend to be closed.

Probing Question:

  • Probing questions are asked to find out more detail.
  • In such questions, use questions that include the word “exactly” to probe further.
  • An effective way of probing is to use the 5 Whys method, which can help you quickly get to the root of a problem.

Rhetorical Question:

  • Rhetorical questions aren’t really questions at all.
  • This is because they don’t expect an answer.
  • They are really just statements phrased in question form.
  • Usually, such questions are used because they are engaging for the listener – as they are drawn into agreeing.


Did You Know?

  • Always keep in mind that you can never know what people think because you cannot read their minds. Hence, the biggest tool that humans have been given to understand each other and make others understand them is through communication, of which, questioning is a crucial aspect. Questioning can help you peel the hidden layers beneath which a person’s true feelings, opinions, and views may be hidden.



Steps of the Questioning Process

Step 1: Establish Credibility and Trust in Yourself

  • The first step of the questioning process is to establish credibility and trust in yourself in the minds of the other person or respondent.
  • You can do this by using your expertise and knowledge in the field that you are speaking about, by building, and then appealing to the strong relationships that you share with the other person, by carefully listening to others, and their opinions, and by using your history of good judgement to appeal to each person’s individual personality.

Step 2: Find a Basis of Common Ground

  • You should ‘find a basis of common ground’ between you and the other person whom you want to question and get responses from. So, you should find a basis that can be agreed to by all parties for reaching a mutual understanding.
  • First clear and clarify the objectives that your questions want to achieve and then look for mutually beneficial solutions for you as well as the other party. Once you have found the mutual benefits, you should clearly state and define the advantages and benefits that the other party achieves by responding to your questions.

Step 3: Provide Vivid Proof

  • This step involves presenting your audience with vivid or clear proofs to support your questions, statements, and opinion. You can use logic and facts to support your statements, using imagery and metaphors to help other person compare and understand your questions.
  • You can use stories and examples to help other person associate with your ideas and feelings. You may use numbers to prove your statements by presenting spreadsheets to support your statements.

Step 4: Connect at an Emotional Level

  • This step involves connecting with the other person at an emotional level. You should understand the tangents or aspects to the person’s personality. You should show empathy and your respect for their feelings and opinions.
  • You should show your commitment, honesty, and dedication. In order to connect at an emotional level, you should have a high degree of self-awareness so that you can understand your own emotions as well as the other person’s emotions.

Step 5: Confirm Understanding of Response

  • The last step of the questioning processes is to confirm with the respondent the correct interpretation of the responses given by him.
  • You can do this by using paraphrasing their words, express your understanding of the response in your own words or even questioning them for further clarity on the given response. This step ensures that you have understood the response correctly from the respondent’s point of view and have not interpreted it as per your perceptions, views, or opinions.


Four Aspects of a Response

  • It has been found that each message or response that you get from the respondent must be understood from four aspects.
  • Hence, the correct decoding of the response given by the respondent, can only be done by understanding each message from these four aspects.

Factual Information Aspect:

  • What is the factual content of the given response?

Self-revelation Aspect:

  • What is the response telling you about the other person?

Relationship Aspect:

  • What does the other person want you to know about yourself and your relationship with the other person?

Appeal Aspect:

  • What does the speaker want to achieve through this response?


Questioning for Knowing Oneself & Others

  • You should be aware about yourself and your motives when you question others so that you can better portray yourself to other people to handle yourself as well as others while questioning.
  • As a person, you can even use questioning skills to better understand yourself and to better express yourself to others.
  • Only when you know and understand yourself youwill have confidence and surety of questioning others.

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