How do you ask a relevant question

Questioning techniques and types of questionsExamples of questions and what they can trigger

Purpose has a big impact on how the questions should be asked and how the conversation goes. The following examples include:

Example 1: clarify things

Questions should elicit an answer from the interlocutor. The questioner assumes that the respondent knows his answer in principle and only needs to translate it into a corresponding statement. The most important thing here is that the questions are asked precisely and understandably so that the respondent knows what it is about and what information the questioner expects. So things are cleared up through questions.

"How many products with item number 123 have we sold in the last five weeks?"

Example 2: stimulate thought

Questions can also be thought-provoking. This means that the respondent (initially) does not know the answer and must first think about it before he can answer. He may come up with new ideas, develop a different point of view, or reflect his opinion or attitude on a topic. Here it is important that the questions help to illuminate a situation from different perspectives, to bring different aspects into play. At the same time, they should motivate the respondent to think.

"How could we increase sales of these products in the next few weeks?"

Example 3: Keeping the conversation going

Questions promote communication. Because: who asks, leads. An answer is expected with the question - that is, the continuation of the conversation. If the interlocutor agrees, a long chain of questions and answers or even a longer conversation can arise. In this case, the questioner must trigger impulses, motivate them to answer, in that the respondent can easily answer something. He also has to pick up on the answers and use them to link his next question.

"What have we done in the past to sell the products?" ... "Which of them has proven itself?" ... "What could we do again in the future?" ... "What ideas do you have on what we could also do in the future? "..." How do you rate the chances of success? "

Example 4: Building personal relationships

Questions that are geared towards the personal relationship of the interlocutor show that the person asking the question is interested in his counterpart. If the respondent reacts, both of them get to know more about themselves. You can build a relationship. The questioner must show his interest in the other person through the question aspects and topics that are discussed. He has to ask questions about the person, which - depending on the relationship and situation - shouldn't be too personal.

"What is your personal opinion on the measures that we have carried out earlier?" ... "What experiences did you have earlier?"

Example 5: Giving conversations structure and depth

If there is only statement next to statement in a conversation, it remains flat and not very productive. Only by asking questions do the interlocutors look into a matter more closely and try to find and deepen reasons, backgrounds and further aspects. For this purpose, the questioner can hook up on details, ask in-depth questions (“What exactly is ...?”), Question things from different perspectives. In this way, conversations gain structure, depth and direction.

"How do you come to this assessment?" ... "What exactly was done at that time?" ... "What were the details wrong at that time?"