Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Power of a Question

After years of mediating disputes, and facilitating teams through conversation and planning, I have learned the power of the question.

In a conversation, when one individual makes an accusation, blame statement, judgment or inaccurate assumption, the typical human response is to defend, retaliate or react (with some form of a verbal jab). Each of these will likely be met with a defensive response which then takes the focus off the issue, and the conversation runs the risk of being derailed.

Instead of firing back a defensive comment, verbal jab or blame, ask a question. Here are four questions that can move the dialogue to be more successful.

- When you said _______, what did you mean by that?

- Tell me more about what you mean about ________

- How does ______ connect with the issue of ___________?

- Help me understand…

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