How To: Use Questions Well


In your job managing and interacting with people, it is important that you get good information. Using questioning techniques well will get you what you want and keep relationships intact.

  •  Focus on the relevant facts
  • For more information, ask open-ended questions
  • Ask closed-ended questions to get additional details
  • Show interest to promote additional conversation
  • End the conversation

 Questions can be productive or draining. They can make people feel comfortable opening up and build trust, or cause them to become defensive.

Think about the following questions:

Why are you behind schedule?

What’s the problem with this project?

Why are you slower than the others?

What’s your problem?

Why did you do that?

Who made that decision?


Avoid using “Why? “ too much. It can sound critical or challenging.

Ask “what” or “how”, rather than “why.”

 Place the focus on the person answering.

What is your opinion?

How do you feel about doing it this way?

 Start with broad questions and move to wider applications.

What are you most pleased about, personally, in learning that?

 Choose your timing, if possible.

 Go positive and effective

Examples of effective questions include:

What is already working?

What makes it work?

What is the objective?

What are the benefits of achieving this objective?

What can we do to move closer to our objectives?

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