Using the Power of 3 Types of Questions to Unlock Important Conversations

Questions to Unlock Important Conversations

Expert communicators and influencers like to use three types of questions to unlock important conversations.

Why?  Because it is more effective to ask well considered questions than to to advocate for your point of view by lecturing your audience on the soundness of your perspective.  Communication skills training teaches that you are more likely to influence your listeners through insightful questions rather than by advocating what they should think or do.

Advocacy vs, Inquiry
Advocating your position means that you are spending your efforts and energy trying to persuade others to agree with your point of view.  Inquiry means focusing on trying to understand the the position of others instead of trying to convince them of your argument.  While both advocacy and inquiry are needed for effective leadership and two-way communication, it is difficult to engage employees and inspire others unless they feel heard and understood.

To conduct better inquiry and to ask questions to unlock important conversations, plan your questions around what you are hoping to learn and where you are hoping to lead your audience:

  1. Fact-Based Questions: When time is short and you need specifics, ask fact-finding questions. These are the queries that help clarify your listeners’ thinking and that begin with “what, where, who and when.”
  2. Why and What If Questions: When you need to expand the context of your argument and want your audience to broaden their perspective, begin your questions with “why” and “what if.”
  3. Connecting Questions: When you need to work toward a compromise and build trust, use questions that bring the two sides together. Help your listeners see the consequences of action or inaction with questions that ask “if” and lead to “then what.”

To learn more about how to ask questions to unlock important conversations, download Effective Communication Skills – The Essential Ingredient in Any Interaction

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The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

Robert Breckner
Firmware Engineering Manager

VNUS Medical has been very pleased with the effective management development programs that LSA Global has delivered for us over the last four years. The programs have been universally facilitated by experienced and best in class instructors. The knowledge gained by our management team has been put into practice very quickly. VNUS is very happy to be working in partnership with LSA because they consistently deliver excellent programs that receive exceptional feedback from our management team.

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Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.

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Blackhawk Network

We engaged LSA to design and deliver a 6-month custom executive coaching program for a group of our key leaders. The focus of the program was to help a core group of senior leaders to leverage previous investments in management training, to ensure the engagement and retention of key employees, and to push critical strategic initiatives forward. Even with the high expectations of our senior people, LSA has completely exceeded our expectations. I would recommend them to anyone looking to create and implement a custom coaching methodology using proven tools to drive true change.

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LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

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We have been able to utilize LSA’s extensive network of top-notch resources to leverage our investment in employee development. The result has been the cost effective and highly efficient delivery of quality educational and management training programs.

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PalmSource has found our relationship with LSA extremely beneficial. We worked closely with LSA to customize the right Management Training Program solution to meet our unique business needs. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner.

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Bob Ward
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LSA exceeded all my expectations. We interviewed 7 potential training and consulting partners and selected LSA due to their expertise, flexibility, and breadth and depth of solutions. We were able to construct a management training course from the modules most appropriate to our needs, and are able to provide additional training from their well developed portfolio of experts. Our managers galvanized as a team throughout the session and are better prepared for the rigors of a competitive market.

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Edify

I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

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The Managing Virtual Teams program was extremely valuable. Your consultant/ facilitator’s fundamental knowledge of Synopsys as a company provided an incredible base to build upon while tackling the complications of managing and working with globally distributed teams. My team walked away walked away with highly useful practices and tools. It was an excellent use of our time.

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In the Next Generation Management Development courses, I was trained with skills and tools that have made me and my team more productive, motivated, and successful at communicating with other departments.

 

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