Here is a list of 8 questioning techniques that you can employ to get the information you need to lead with certainty:
1. Start Easy To Increase Bonding and Trust
Ask easy, no-brainer questions at the beginning of a conversation to connect with the individual and make it easier to ask harder questions.
How have you been lately?
How was the meeting yesterday?
What have you been up to?
Starting with easy questions will help put the other person at ease.
2. Open Questions
Ask open questions to get a broad overview of what the person knows or thinks.
What can you tell me about the topic?
What is there to know about the situation?
What happened, exactly?
Open questions let you get the big picture of a situation, and figure out how people feel about a given situation. The more open you are in your questions, the wider the variety of potential responses.
3. Hone in On The Important Details
Ask specific, targeted questions about what the other person is saying to get more information about a specific area of the situation.
The part about the penguins fascinates me. What exactly happened with the penguins?
Where exactly were you when that happened?
What do you think the exact figures are?
When you find a topic of conversation you are interested in knowing more about, direct the discussion in that direction by asking questions specifically about the topic.
4. Closed Questions
Ask closed questions to get quick, factual answers.
Do you know where he is?
What time will it be?
How long have you been doing this?
When you have targeted a topic, you can get the specific answers you are looking for by asking direct questions about facts.
5. Going Deeper Into Meaning
Ask questions about what the person is saying to go deeper into what they mean.
What do you mean?
Can you give me more examples?
How does this relate to the big picture?
When you ask questions about what other people mean by what they say, you can uncover motives and learn why people do what they do.
6. Asking For Perspective
Ask questions about perspective to get the other person to step out of their own perspective and provide details they might be overlooking.
What other way can we look at this?
What do you think [someone else] would say about this?
Can you compare this to anything else we’ve encountered?
Asking the other person to consider outside perspective is a great way to find out more about other angles of a story, as well as put the other person’s perspective in clearer view.
7. Consequence and Benefits Questions
Ask questions about consequences to figure out the benefits or drawbacks of a given situation.
What do you think would happen if we do this?
What are the consequences of doing this?
What are the benefits of doing this?
You can ask consequence and benefit questions about things that have happened in the past, things that are happening in the present, and things that will happen in the future. Learning about the advantages and disadvantages of a given situation will help you have a clearer perspective of the risk involved.
8. Answer a Question With A Question
Ask for clarification of a question to figure out the meaning of the question or get more perspective.
I’m sorry, could you please restate that question?
What do you mean by that question?
What do you think or how would you answer that?
If you don’t understand what the person is asking, or why they are asking the question, take the time to ask for clarification. In some cases it may annoy the person who is asking the question, but at least you will have peace of mind knowing that you have a clearer view of what is expected from your answer.