The problem with my questions lately...
By melinchina on Feb 28, 2008
Here are some questions I've asked at work in the past few days:
- Is there anything I can do to help you?
- Did you find out what our options are?
- Do others in the team have that same impression?
And here's a classic one from my home life:
- Were you born in a barn?
You know what the problem is with all these questions? They're all closed questions. And damn, that was another one. Closed questions can be answered with "yes" or "no". I've got to start expressing myself with open questions. All the management books and classes will tell you this. Open questions invite the other person to engage in a discussion with you and they don't presuppose what the correct answer is, which some of my closed questions do. Closed questions make it all too easy for you and the other person to escape from a perhaps tense conversation without ever getting to the heart of the issue. But asking open questions isn't as easy as it might seem.
Here's what I should have said:
- What can I do to help?
- What are our options?
- What do the others in the team think about this?
- What will happen if we leave the front door open here in the middle of winter, Precious?
Does anyone else out there struggle with this? OMG, there I go again.