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Open-ended questions

Welcome to Love Mondays, a weekly newsletter designed as a 3-minute hit to fire up the other 10,077 minutes of your week.

Embedding the ‘quest’ within the question.

We are social creatures by nature, with an infinite amount to learn from each other.

So why then, do we so often ask questions without the intent to really listen to the answer? The beauty of the open-ended question is that control of the conversation switches from the person asking the question to the person being asked the question.

When did you last sit with someone and have a conversation you were genuinely curious about?

Write this down.

Consider: who, in your world, would you like to learn more about?

Practice: taking a conversation further with open-ended questions

Decide to: think of questioning as a skill that can be honed

Open-ended questions

There are many benefits to asking open-ended questions. They are the what, how, where, when, why and who of life. When we use open-ended questions in surveys, we capture more qualitative research data and contextual insights. The same is true of conversations. Having more open, empathetic conversations allows leaders to go beyond business as usual, and understand more meaningfully what motivates our people.

  • Critical Thinking. Since there isn’t a right or wrong answer to an open question, people are given the opportunity to think through different angles and possibilities.

  • Creative Thinking. People are given the freedom to think beyond the obvious and tap into their imagination or instinct.

  • Communication. Since answers require more than a one-word response, people have the opportunity to engage beyond being polite or perfunctory and enrich their communication skills

  • Confidence. Open-ended questions empower people to express themselves, which builds self-confidence in sharing their thoughts and ideas with you and others.

Who likes small talk anyway?! We don’t have long on this planet together, so let’s ask with the intent to hear the quest beyond the question.

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