Types of Questions:
To start, let's explore types of questions. Types of questions are widely known as falling under the umbrella of two basic categories - referring to "narrow and specific" or "broad and general." The "narrow and specific" questions are the easy to answer questions that require others to provide short answers. For example, "How long ago have you started your own business?" "What did you do before?" The "broad and general" questions on the other hand would be: "What are some of the changes you anticipate will be needed in order for your business to grow and expand?" "What external factors do you foresee forcing you to change your focus in business?" "Broad and general" questions give you more room to gather information that will take you in more depth to ask further questions for more answers. These kinds of questions also give the listeners the opportunity to explore and be creative with their answers. I am sure many of my readers are thinking - who takes the time to evaluate a question type before they ask it? Well my response to everyone is, successful business owners, bosses, researchers, lawyers, doctors and teachers do and so can everyone else.
Purpose for Asking Questions:
Purpose as a main basis for asking questions when defined relates to one's determination to find a resolution. One should have in mind when asking questions that you are asking this question in hopes of learning and coming to a constructive outcome. It is important to always focus your questions when conducting business with rightful intentions. Others know when you mean well or otherwise have hidden agendas. Questions that come from a heart of good intentions will be clear, unbiased, thoughtful, understanding and sensitive because you want both parties to be resolved in the end. A general principle in this regard that I stand by is giving to get and getting to give. This principle can also be applied when asking questions - be considerate, show respect and release the right and acceptable attitude to other parties when asking questions. In return, you are much more likely to get the responses you are looking for.
Here's to further help you to identify some right purposes for asking various kinds of questions: First, are you knowledgeable on your reason for asking questions? Second, are you asking questions to gather information, gain agreement, consensus, acquire opinions, communicate your value, solicit feedback, help others analyze their own suggestions, analyze ideas, persuade others, stimulate creative thinking, uncover truth, resist demands or commands, find commonalities, reduce anxieties or to guide conversations? Whatever your reasons are for asking questions, the following acts must be considered.
1. How to ask questions:
First, think before you ask a question. Who is your audience? What kind of question is being posed? Is the question justifiable? Test the question on yourself. How would you respond to your own question if someone else asked you that same question? Brain storm -what kind of feelings did you get by asking yourself such question? If positive proceed, if negative, evaluate and rephrase before you proceed. It is important to also transfer an attitude of care and humility. Become the person that shows the other party that you are acting in their best interest and you are relying on them to play an important role in the process of effective change. The other party must be able to understand that their participation is valued and their responses will not be judged or they become ostracized as a result.
If asking questions for knowledge be clear, specific and direct, let the other party feel comfortable sharing information with you by understanding your reasons for asking questions. Also show appreciation for the information they shared and how such information provided will be benefiting overall. Give compliments to the other party encouraging and supporting them as needed to keep the necessary flow of information shared. Never pressure and force someone in business to provide an answer to your question if they are resistant. Be patient, give them the respect, space and time that they need, but communicate clearly to them why their answer is vital and necessary for a determined outcome.
2. When to ask questions:
When the other party is mentally and emotionally available for the exchange and interaction. Be sure to ask if it is the right time depending on the nature of the question and the amount of information being sought after. Don't ask questions that violates the other party's privacy in front of others. This kind of embarrassment can destroy your business relationship with the party.
3. Where to ask questions:
Consider the appropriate time and place for the kinds of questions you ask - are there appropriate and acceptable conditions for communicating in that environment? For example, is the environment safe? Is the environment distraction free? Is the environment private or open? Is the environment comfortable and relaxing? Is the setting casual or business related? All these factors should be considered and more.