The Art of Asking Good Questions

February 7, 2013

question mark
–Adapted from AMA Business Boot Camp–a compendium of some of the American Management Association's best advice.

Questions can be really useful tools, not only to dig deeper, but to coach employees, to spark innovation, and to change culture.

Clear communication involves asking good questions as much as it does making statements. Read below to learn the four types of questions and how to use them. Knowing the basic value of each type of question so you choose the right style to use in day-to-day communication, both oral and written.

#1 — Open-Ended Questions

  • Open-ended questions require full multiple-word responses. Use them to start a discussion.
  • Open-ended questions encourage people to talk, so put them to work in encouraging shy or withdrawn employees to talk.

Example: “What are some of the ways you might use that speaker’s information on rapport building?”

#2 —  Closed-Ended Questions

  • Rely on closed-ended questions when you want a “yes” or “no” answer.
  • You establish greater control using them than when you pose open-ended questions.

Example: “Do you plan to use the speaker’s techniques for rapport building?”

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About The Author

Edward T. Reilly is President and CEO of the American Management Association (AMA). AMA is the world’s leading not-for-profit, membership-based management development, research and publishing organization. Each year, AMA directly interacts with over 100,000 managers and executives in the United States and around the world, through its renowned management education seminar programs and conferences. It publishes many newsletters, research papers and a quarterly management journal. Through its publishing arm, AMACOM, it publishes over 80 books per year.

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