How to Ask Great Questions
Asking questions can be one of the best ways to enhance a conversation, but the wrong questions can actually hinder conversation. Not all questions are created equal! Open-ended questions are friendlier and more effective than closed-ended questions. They usually start with “What” or “How”.
Here are some examples of how to change closed-ended questions into open-ended questions:
- Instead of “Did you like it?” you could ask, “What did you like about it?” or “How did you like it?”
- Instead of “Are you upset?” you could ask “What’s bothering you?” or “How are you feeling?”
- Instead of “Would you like to do something else?” or you could ask “What would you like to do?”
- Instead of “Any questions?” you could ask “What questions do you have?”
Using open-ended questions requires effort. However, the effort is well worth it, especially in a tense situation. The next time you are in a tense conversation, make your questions open-ended, and watch the dynamic change. You will have a much better conversation, and the other person will appreciate your communication skills!
The Importance of Non-Verbal Messages
If you are pouring your heart out to a friend and she keeps glancing at her watch, do you believe she’s interested in what you’re saying?
If the customer service rep says, “I really wish I could help you,” with a frown and his arms folded firmly across his chest, do you believe him?
Research has discovered that 55% of the message we communicate is through our body language!
Facial expression, posture and gestures actually say more to the other person than the words we speak.
Surprisingly, words only account for 7% of the message we send. (The remaining 38% of what we are communicating is expressed through the tone, pitch and volume of one’s voice.)
Next time you have something important to say, consider not just your words, but also the message your body and voice are communicating.
When you send conflicting messages through your verbal and non-verbal cues, the non-verbal message wins every time.
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