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Asking Questions for a Productive Communication

If you feel that there is nothing to boast of in your communication abilities, it is high time to fix this situation. Sometimes, we do not even realize how fruitful just a small conversation may appear if you know how the proper questions should be asked, so, as a result, you will be able to get correct answers. This article, mainly, deals with the questions, their functions and the responses, which you can expect asking them.

Question Type #1. Closed-Answer Questions

Questions; yes-no
  • This is a type of questions which usually start without the questioning word. Their possible answer is typically “yes” or “no”.
  • You should use this question if you want your respondent to provide you with a clear positive or negative answer. This type will force your respondent to avoid various reflections and provide you with a short reply.
  • In case you want to make the conversation last longer, you should not use this type. Some people do not often have anything to add if they are asked such questions.
  • Sometimes, this kind of inquiries can be used for the purpose of clarifying a certain part of the person’s previous response if you use the correct intonation. Your intonation is important; in some cases, it may seem that you are an inattentive listener.

Question Type #2. Open Questions

  • We use this type of questions really often. In most cases, they start with words like: who, where, why, what, when etc.
  • When you are asking such question, you can aspect an answer that is minimum one sentence long and contains fuller answer than can be given by a closed question.
  • When you are willing to force the person into speaking more, you can start with the closed question and continue the conversation with more open ones.

Question Type #3. Alternative

Choosing between two variants
  • Very often you want your respondent to be limited with the answers or provide them with a choice for replies. In such cases, alternative question should be used.
  • Having a frame with the variants for response, you can predict the answer; so, you will be ready with your next argument for discussion or persuasion.
  • In certain cases, this type of question eases the flow of conversation if it is going in a tight manner. People may get nervous and be not ready to come up with an answer. Therefore, your alternatives for the response will be really helpful.

Question type #4. Funnel Questions

  • That is a term for denoting the series of questions. They may start with the general question and move to a more specific one. For example: “Tell me about your education? – What is your major at college? – Which courses do you take this year? – What are your favorite ones? – Which subjects are you the best at?”.
  • Sometimes the funnel questions work conversely: beginning with a specific one and continuing with the more opened questions. For instance: “Is this your college dissertation? – What is its topic? – Which concepts does it deal with? – Why did you select this topic? – Why do you consider this issue important to research? – Which perspectives of this research can you mention?”.
  • These questions’ series will help you set the necessary direction for the talk, which will correspond to the communication strategy of yours. This means that you can predict the results of all your business and even personal chats.

Question Type #5: Leading Questions

  • Although asking a leading question may be considered as a slightly unfair way to get information or response from other people, still it proves its efficiency in the communication process: a rightly built leading question contains a hint on what exactly your respondent or interviewee should answer to you.
  • It would be easier to demonstrate how such questions can work on the example: let us say, you want your interlocutor to agree with your statement or to approve the action you are going to do; so, you should firstly phrase your question so, that answering “yes” to it could be much easier than “no”, and secondly you need to direct your query towards the person you are talking to. For instance: “That’s a very smart idea, don’t you think so?” and “Would you like me to proceed with this project?”
  • It is claimed that our body language also takes significant role in influencing the answers of our respondents. So, if you are offering someone to choose from only two options but you personally are interested in one particular choice, you can smile when speaking about it, but slightly frown when describing the second option. It has been scientifically proved that smiling can help you win your interlocutor over to your side.
Two People Talking

Question Type #6: Probing Questions

  • They will help the person you are communicating with think about more details of the issue you are discussing together. Not only can you receive more information on what you want to know, but also you can make your respondent think deeply and express their feelings, impressions or associations connected with the subject of your discussion.
  • Probing questions appeal more to the interlocutor’s emotions and opinions. If you want to make them really effective, you should specify some important detail in the query, such as the method, appearance, difference, condition, circumstance, etc. For example: “What would you if… (something essential happened)?” or “How exactly do you plan to do it?”

Question Type #7: Rhetorical Questions

  • Well, we call these figures “questions” probably because the intonation we use to say them usually goes up, as in any other question. However, these are statements, grammatically built as questions, which don’t imply definite answers. Usually, such questions concern self-evident things, phenomena or events.
  • Their main purpose is to engage people into the talk or discussion as well as to draw their attention to the issue you are interested in.

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