When you are in the spotlight, when you have a high profile position in your organization, you might feel like you will look stupid asking questions. It’s understandable that you want to appear like you know it all so that the people you lead have confidence in you.

What is important to realize is that asking questions can make you look good. When you ask questions you show interest and genuine concern. This is an opportunity for someone in your position to be a role model and to demonstrate that it is okay and admirable to ask questions.

The key to asking questions is to ask the right questions. The best questions to ask are what questions or how questions, because there are no wrong answers to what or how questions. You give the other person tremendous amount flexibility in how they respond. It takes the pressure off. If you ask a who, when, or where question, there is only one right answer. And if you ask a why question, which implies a judgement or evaluation, the person will have to defend themselves and justify their comments and actions.

With good how and what questions you can probably gather the who, whens, wheres and whys, without putting pressure on the conversation. The more people talk, the better they feel.

Asking questions is a great way to engage others in 3 key communication areas:

  • Inclusion – people feel involved
  • Affection – people feel you care
  • Control – people feel they have some impact and some influence

So when it comes to listening, what do you think?

Check back to welchlin.com next Monday for another video blog. For more on effective listening, watch Kit Welchlin’s presentation here.