An effective listener must direct and guide many discussions including performance management, dealing with customers, interviewing job applicants, among others. One aspect of better listening is learning how to gather information via smarter questions. This is the second on major aspects of listening skills. See also http://shrinsight.com/communication-tips-listening-skills/
Requests for Information
A major type of questions are requests for information. The six common types are:
the invitation to talk
probing for specifics
An invitation to talk is a statement rather than a direct question but it invites the person to talk about a given subject. For example: ” I’d like to hear about the goals you have for this year”. Invitations to talk feature:
It focuses attention on a specific topic but gives a wide range of options to the person responding.
Its use keeps your views from influencing the response you will receive or tipping your hand about what you want to hear.
Interspersed with direct questions, it can keep a discussion or interview more comfortable and less like an interrogation.
Open-ended questions are good ways to start a flow of information because they call for an extended answer and cannot be answered “yes” or “no”. They give people room to respond and communicate that you are interested in the response.
For example: “Do you like your job?” can be answered yes or no and is closed-ended. Rephrased as “What do you like most and least about your job?”, it communicates that you really want to know details and their ideas.
Fact-seeking questions are designed to elicit very specific or factual information. They are questions with a narrow, more precise focus. Here are some examples:
What did you do to resolve the customer’s complaint?
How do you want our current policy changed?
What training have […]