Questions are one of the easiest ways to get your audience involved. They play a major role in effective communication. Questions invite others to participate and get people to think about an issue from a different perspective.

Open-Ended Questions: An open-ended question elicits a more complete response and more effective participation than a closed-ended question. Usually begins with ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘when’ or ‘why’?

Example: What responses can we anticipate from the new changes we are making? 

This format invites dialogue and can help build a connection.

Closed-Ended Questions: Generally, require only a one-word answer, and can close off discussion. This is useful for quick ‘on/off’ types of information needs.

Example: Is it cool enough in here? 

Sometimes, this format is helpful at branching points in a conversation, to acknowledge we are done with one thing, and moving on to the next or to gauge interest in the new topic (“Does anyone here have this problem…?”).

Often, when asking questions, we have our own needs in mind – so we ask questions in a way meant to ‘lead’ our audience to the answer we want (These are questions like “wouldn’t you agree that…?”). Those questions can damage our credibility and can make audiences suspect of our motives.

Effective Ways to Phrase a Question

  • Ask clear, concise questions; do not ramble or cover multiple issues in one question
  • Ask challenging questions that provoke thought
  • Ask honest and relevant questions
  • Avoid ‘trick’ questions that are designed to fool the group

If you want to create great connection, ask great questions. We are always open to your questions too! Feel free to ask us anything, we love to connect with our readers.