All of us ask questions. Is there a right or wrong way to ask? I am sure once in your life you heard – “That’s a very good question”. How do we different the questions? Is there a logic behind asking what we want to ask.
The answer is Yes. There are patterns in which we ask questions. Few ask to know if the other person knows the subject or not; few genuinely ask; others ask to confirm if they understanding is correct and few ask for the sake of asking.
If you have taken a course on How to do presentations or teaching a class, you would have definitely covered the topic on how to manage your audience. Based on the tone and involvement of your participants, you know the genuinity of the question.
Asking the right question comes with the understanding of the subject. If the subject is new, the questioning pattern comes from inquisitiveness.
Based on my experiences, I identified 3 attributes which make it best.
– Start with the situation (Set the stage) – Before you ask a question, it makes it easier for the narrator/speaker to understand the context. So, highlight what he/she said and then start the question.
– Repeat what the other person said before you ask the question (Providing clarity) – After setting the stage, ensure you repeat the last line what you heard and then start with your question. This will help in connecting the story with the situation.
– Close the question with your understanding (if possible) – After the question is answered, close it by repeating what you have understood. This gives confidence to the speaker that their effort is valued.