Pay attention: Ask more questions

I admire so many of the Greeks. Socrates was crazy smart. He was a master of asking questions. The Socratic method of asking disciplined questions causes you to think in a variety of ways. These questions often allow the conversation to get in more depth, uncover issues and often lead to more questions. This technique is disciplined, systematic and deep.

Applying the six types of questions he often used will accelerate your critical thinking skills, deepen your conversations and improve your leadership ability. If you want conversations to be more productive with your members, with your board and with your team, choose some of these questions today.

Clarification questions ask the speaker to go deeper and provide more than a surface response.

  • Why do you think that?
  • What exactly does that mean?
  • Can you give me an example of that?

Probing assumptions ask the speaker to recognize the assumptions on which an argument is based.

  • How did you choose those assumptions?
  • What else could we assume?
  • What would happen if we … ?

Probing evidence and reasons, rather than questioning assumptions, these questions request more evidence

  • How do you know this?
  • What do you think causes…?

Questioning viewpoints, most arguments are made from a position. These questions are useful to discover other viewpoints.

  • Why is this better than… ?
  • What is the difference between … and… ?
  • May I play devils advocate and ask … ?

Probe consequence, these questions help people realize the impact of their decisions on the business.

  • How will this affect … ?
  • What are the implications of … ?
  • What are the consequences of this decision?

Question the question, this may be frustrating for some, especially if they want the answer, however, instead of telling someone, question the question.

Why do you think I asked?

  • What is the point of asking these questions?

To avoid conversations becoming heated ensure your question focuses on the issue not the person who makes the statement.

If you want to be a more productive conversationalist and increase your strategic and critical thinking skills, be more like Socrates and ask more questions so you can really pay attention to what matters.

Which of these questions can you use at your next team meeting or with your next member appointment?

Remember attention pays.

Neen James

Neen James

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