How to Ask Better Questions

I finally had the chance to read a great book To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Dan Pink. This book will be included in my recommended reading list. Below is an excerpt from the book.

Learn how to ask better questionsTo Sell is Human

In the new world of sales, being able to ask the right questions is more valuable than producing the right answers. Unfortunately, our schools often have the opposite emphasis. They teach us how to answer, but not how to ask. The folks at the Right Question Institute are trying to correct that imbalance. They’ve come up with a method that educators can use to help students learn to ask better questions-and that can assist even those of us who graduated back in the twentieth century.

Before your next sales call, or maybe in advance of that awkward upcoming meeting with your ex-spouse or annoying boss, give RQI’s step-by-step Question Formulation Technique a try.

1. Produce your questions.

Generate a list of questions by writing down as many as you can think of, without stopping to judge, discuss, or answer any of them. Don’t edit. Just write the questions that pop into your head. Change any statements to questions.

2. Improve your questions.

Go through your list of questions and categorize each one as either “closed-ended” (questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no,” 0r just one word) or “open-ended” (questions that require an explanation and cannot be answered with “yes” or “no,” or just one word). Then, looking over the two types of questions, think about the advantages and disadvantages of each variety. Finally, for a few closed-ended questions, create an open-ended one, and for a few open-ended questions, create a closed-ended one.

3. Prioritize your questions.

Choose your three most important questions. Think about why you chose them. Then edit them one more time so they are ultra-clear.

Through this process you can identify a trio of powerful questions that you can ask the person on the other side of the table. And those questions can help both of you clarify where you are and where you should be going. Find more information on this at: http://www.rightquestion.org

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