your-ultimate-guide-to-questioning-listening.pdf

August 8, 2017 | Author: KESHAVA REDDY KOLLI | Category: Body Language, Question, Job Interview, Goldilocks And The Three Bears, Facial Expression
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Your ultimate guide to questioning & listening Key skills to become a phenomenal communicator Sarah Simpson

Sarah Simpson

Your Ultimate Guide to Questioning & Listening Key Skills to Become a Phenomenal Communicator

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening: Key Skills to Become a Phenomenal Communicator 1st edition © 2015 Sarah Simpson & bookboon.com ISBN 978-87-403-0865-5

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Contents

Contents 1 Introduction

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2

What is questioning?

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3

What can questions do?

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3.1

Gain knowledge

12

3.2

Promote and expand thinking

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3.3 Clarify

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3.4 Probe

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3.5 Guide

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3.6 Intimidate

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3.7 Attack

15

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Why do we ask questions?

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Contents

5

Active listening

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5.1

Why don’t we hear what is being said?

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5.2

Active listening exercise.

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6

Body language

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6.1 Head

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6.2

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The face

6.3 Hands

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6.4 Eyes

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6.5 Mouth

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6.6 Arms

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6.7

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General posture

7 Introduction to 12 question types

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8

37

Closed questions

9 Tag questions (sometime known as tail questions)

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10

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Open questions

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Contents

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Imaginative questions

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12

Funnel questions

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Probing questions

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Recall & process questions

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15

Socratic Questions

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15.1

Conceptual clarification questions

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15.2

Probing assumptions

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15.3

Probing rationale, reason and evidence

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15.4

Probing implications and consequences

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15.5

Questioning viewpoints and perspectives

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15.6

Questions about the question

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16

Leading questions

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17

Loaded questions

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18

Rhetorical questions

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Contents

19 Empathetic or emotional questions

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20 8 Common Responses to questions

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20.1

direct & honest

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20.2

a lie

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20.3

out of context

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20.4

partial answer

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20.5 avoidance

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20.6 stalling

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20.7 distortion

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20.8 refusal

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21 Summary

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Supplementary information

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22.1

Emotional intelligence

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22.2

Top ten ways to establish rapport

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22.3

Top ten most asked interview questions

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22.4

Top ten questions to change your life

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Introduction

1 Introduction Hi and welcome to this book on questioning. I have spent over 20 years teaching and writing books on a variety of; presentation, management, leadership and team building topics. I have also managed staff in both the public and private sector and as such have perfected my communication skills. In particular how to ask questions, respond to what is and isn’t said and understand body language and verbal cues. It is this experience that I will be sharing with you. It sounds easy right? you ask a question and it gets answered with useful information you can use…oh, if only it were that easy! The skill in being a great communicator and questioner is in asking; the right type of question to the right person, at the right time, in the right environment. But, even this is not enough. I often ask my students do they listen? and of course, usually without exception they say “yes”. But, I have tested this in a variety of ways to a huge range of people from a whole host of organisations and seniorities and without exception I can conclude that active listening in a universally underdeveloped skill. The thing is, in order to become a phenomenal questioner you must also be a phenomenal active listener. You also need to be able to read what is being said non-verbally i.e. through a persons body language. We will look at some of the common body language cues and signs during section 6. So, what will this book cover? • What is questioning? • What can questions do? • Why do we ask them? • Active listening • Body language • 12 different types of questions – that you can ask or indeed be asked • Responses to questions In order to get the most out of this book I have added some supplementary information, which will support the main topics and further advance your knowledge. I really hope you enjoy the course and please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

What is questioning?

2 What is questioning? We know questioning is important but what is it? Well, it can be defined as: “A sentence, phrase, or gesture that seeks information through a reply”

My two favourite questioning quotes are by Albert Einstein and Peter Abelard:

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

What is questioning?

I particularly like using this last quote (Peter Abelard) as it suggests we want to hear the truth. As such it provides a great starting discussion with my students on whether this is always what we want to hear when we question something or someone – Is honesty always the best policy, or is it always what we want to hear? Questions are central to becoming a competent communicator. However, it is only when they are used correctly and with the right intensions that their real power becomes evident. It is for this reason that questions are sometime referred to as ‘the Swiss army knife’ of language. Activity: Ask yourself – when you ask a question do you always want an honest answer?

If the answer is no, why might this be? The truth is, when we ask a question we may: • not want to hear what is said • just want agreement • would like our opinions ‘backed up’ • not actually need an answer (in the case of the rhetorical question) Therefore in order to ask the right questions you need to be aware of your true motivations for asking them in the first place. The notion of critically reflecting on our practice makes us more aware of our actions and those of people around us and increases our emotional intelligence (EI). See supplementary information in section 22.2

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

What can questions do?

3 What can questions do? Common thinking would suggest that questions give us an answer to something we have asked and of course this is often the case. But, they can be used in both a positive or negative manner and it is not always easy to determine which ‘camp’ they sit in. Take this image, which is one I use in many settings with my face-to-face students. Some see ‘good’ straight away and others ‘evil’ and whilst evil is probably too strong a word it is a really good visual for illustrating that when asking questions the intensions behind them may not always be honourable or transparent.

In the main questions can accomplish 7 tasks: • gain knowledge • promote and expand thinking • clarify • probe • guide • intimidate • attack Lets expand on these a little now, although greater explanations and examples can be found in the question types later on.

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3.1

What can questions do?

Gain knowledge

Question: Where does your knowledge come from?

Answer: In the main peoples knowledge comes from two sources: • •

from experience – empiricism from reason – rationalism

We seem pre-programmed to seek knowledge from an early age. We will probably all have experienced a young child constantly asking “why” and many people will continue to gain academic knowledge because they like the challenge or want to ‘get on in life’ or gain promotion. There is an important point to make here in that we can only ask questions to gain knowledge if we recognise a need to do so. Someone who is arrogant and thinks they have all the answers may be unable or unwilling to seek the opinions of others. The continuum from lack of recognition through to new learning is shown on the Conscious Competence Ladder, which I have adapted for questioning skills.

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3.2

What can questions do?

Promote and expand thinking

Thinking can be defined as… “the process of considering or reasoning about something”

Therefore, in order to think, consider or reason in the best way possible to stands to reason that the more (quality) information you gain though appropriate questioning the more holistic and unbiased this will be. This technique is often one that you will see employeed in the educational setting as lecturers, teachers and students question; what they know, how they know that (sources of information etc.) and whether there is a different way of looking at something.

Elements of this are seen in greater detail when we look at Socratic questions later on in section 15.

3.3 Clarify This is really about ensuring your understanding of an answer is correct and you haven’t misunderstood or put your own (albeit un-intentional) spin or bias on things. It involves offering back to the responder what you understood them to have meant. This is useful in clearing up any misunderstanding or resolving areas of confusion. For this reason it is often beneficial in conflict or emotional situations or when there are a mix of primary languages.

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

What can questions do?

3.4 Probe Questions that probe are often confused with clarification that we have just looked at. However probing questions are designed to dig or think more deeply. They often start with: • “what” • “why” • “how” • “when” You should be mindful of your body language during these questions as an aggressive stance combined with probing can be intimidating and threatening.

3.5 Guide These can help the questioner guide the responder(s) through or down a particular way or path. It is an approach often employed by teachers to guide students to solve an issue themselves through a series of deliberate questions which allow them to reach an answer. This particular type of question is known as the ‘reflective toss’ and it is a cycle of student statement and teacher question. It differs from traditional teaching which aims to examine what students know as it is more collaborative in nature.

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

What can questions do?

3.6 Intimidate The types of questions and style that fall under this category would be: • Rapid firing of questions without allowing a response • aggressive tone, pitch or speed • Aggressive body language • Aggressive body language and supposedly warm language – creates neural dissonance in the brain Intimidating questions shut off creativity and innovation and leave people feeling judged and reluctant to engage. This can destroy both working and personal relationships and interactions.

3.7 Attack Questions that attack are very similar to ones that intimidate. They are usually personal in nature and the questioner is not interested in the response other than that they can use the answer to further berate the responder. They often start with “you” or “you’re”.

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Why do we ask questions?

4 Why do we ask questions? We take it for granted that as humans we are ‘programmed’ to ask questions and seek answers. We see this from a very early age and most of us will have experienced the endless “why” questions of a small child and their seemingly endless desire to explore their environment. So, we an say that the need to question is an evolutionary one that provides benefit and advantage. There are 12 main reason we ask questions and as with everything in life they can have both positive and negative intensions. Why we ask questions: • to obtain information • curiosity • to maintain control of a conversation • to express interest in another person(s) • to clarify • to encourage thought • to test or gain knowledge ASK – Achieve Success (by) Knowledge • to enhance vision • to explore personality or difficulties • in group settings i.e. classrooms or focus groups – discussion or group think • for critical reflective learning – what went well, what went badly • to show others how much we know! However, knowing that there are 12 question types and why we ask them is in no means enough to be an effective questioner with well developed interpersonal skills. A crucial skill is in actively listening to what is said and what isn’t said, for example in the case of body language.

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Active listening

5 Active listening The nemonic often used, unsurprisingly is ‘LISTEN’

L = look interested – gentle eye contact, nodding, head movement (we’ll expand on this when we look at body language) I = involve your self – verbally and non verbally. id S = don’t drift away, stay focused and limit distractions T = understanding is tested by repeating what is being said (responders words, similar and then your own) E = what are they actually saying both verbally and with their body language N = beware of bias – sometimes called halo or horns. Don’t cherry pick the bits you like, or conversely dismiss someones views, comments or concerns. Active listening is all about showing a response to what is being said. Eye contact, nodding, small facial expressions and the occasional echoing of words are all examples of active listening. And the more of these you (genuinely) display the more it looks like and indeed you are listening. However, listening also requires effort combined with a real and honest desire to understand.

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Active listening

Active listening is also represented as a funnel.

This image shows the ‘LISTEN’ nemonic that I have just described running down the full length.

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Active listening

In practice what you would do is: • start with open questions that allow the responder to answer fully and without boundaries • then move on to tailored probing questions and • finally closed questions with short word answers that allow you to clarify or check that you have truly understood what has been said

5.1

Why don’t we hear what is being said?

Whenever I ask students if they listen, they obviously always say they do! But I have tested this on many occasions and often they don’t. This is not due to lack to care or commitment but rather it being quite difficult and a skill that takes practice. Why we don’t hear: • We are thinking of the next question to ask – how many times have you watched a news interview and a guest answers a question and then the journalist asks a question they have already answered?! Clearly this is a case of them having a list of questions and not listening to or hearing the response • We don’t listen, we wait to speak. Remember your silence is the place to listen, not the gap between you talking again • We presume we know what the other person is going to say • We have preconceived ideas about what is going to be discussed with the person(s) involved. Having a conversation is not about having your own opinions verified or reiterated, but rather it should be an opportunity to learn something new, gain greater insight and expand your thinking. Having an opinion (good or bad) about someone before or in the early stages of a conversation is often called the ‘halo and horns’ effect and can lead to unfair or unjustified bias • We are preoccupied with our own thoughts and don’t commit to the conversation. They say we can process about 8 pieces of information at a time in our conscious mind. Therefore, we have to practice leaving to one side other thoughts and commit and concentrate on this particular encounter / conversation. We will probably all by familiar with the phrase “leave it at the door” or, “leave it at home”. But, this is clearly easier said than done • We try to finish someones sentences and ‘rush’ the conversation. Do you ever think “here we go again, I’ve heard all this before”, or “I know where we are going with this conversation”? If so you may try and finish someone sentences and rush the conversation through to where you think it is going to end up anyway. This is more likely to happen if you have known each other for an extended period of time or you have history i.e. conflict • We only selectively listen. We only hear what we want you hear. A bit like children we can selectively listen for a variety of reasons including; liking to be right, not enjoying having our assumptions challenged or being distracted

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Active listening

• Emotions get in the way – anxious, tired, angry etc. Emotions affect our judgement, reasoning and listening capabilities • We don’t pay attention to, or pick up on speech qualities. Active listening is not just about hearing the words, it involves picking up on tone, emphasis, speed, pitch and volume. So, we have seen that questioning, listening and responding is made up of three main elements (words, body language and vocal elements). But what % of each is responsible for our understanding?

Albert Mehrabian concluded that only 7% of communication involves actual words and 38% comes from vocal elements or cues. Mixing facial expressions and tone, for example looking angry whilst using ‘nice’ words, causes neural dissonance which increases suspicion, decreases cooperation and erodes trust. A lower pitch and slower speed has been shown to perceive you as more caring and empathetic (University of Houston). A raised pitch and intensity is indicative of; anger, excitement or being frightened. If 7% of communication is words, and 38% vocal elements, that which is left (55%) is body language. When I teach presentation skills I ask students to make a note of all the elements of a presentation that makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ delivery. When we look at the presenter that always say a varied tone of voice and gestures/open body language is key. If you think about it communication began with gestures before speech even developed and today we can make ourselves understood through ‘sign’ language and gestures, if for example we are in a different country.

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Active listening

This is one of the reasons that many digital methods of communication can lead to misinterpretation or error. You assign arbitrary meanings to words and emotional impacts get misinterpreted. It is often therefore suggested that if you use nouns and action verbs your intended meaning may be easier to interpret.

5.2

Active listening exercise.

Now let’s see how good your active listening skills are! Please read this story carefully, once and then answer the questions that follow… Once upon a time Goldilocks went for a walk in the forrest. She came upon a house and upon getting no answer walked in. On the table there were three bowls of porridge and she tasted the first one “this porridge is too cold!”she shouted, so she tasted the second bowl “Ah, this is too hot!” she exclaimed. She then wandered next door and found 3 chairs. The first was too soft, the second too hard but the third was perfect and she fell fast asleep. The three bears then came home “someone been eating our porridge they growled” and they looked around their home and discovered Goldilocks. Goldilocks woke up and screamed “help me”, opened the door, ran down the path, over the gate and back into the forrest.

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Active listening

Please now answer the following questions: 1. Goldilocks was a little girl 2. She knocked on the door before entering 3. There were three bears 4. The bears ate porridge for breakfast 5. Goldilocks ate the bowl that was neither hot nor cold 6. There were three chairs 7. The chairs were in the sitting room 8. Goldilocks screamed “help me” when she saw the bears 9. Goldilocks had to open the gate to escape the bears 10. Goldilocks escaped into the forrest (answers on next page)

Answers: 1. False – I didn’t mention her age or size, just her name. Most people make assumptions due to having a mental image of what Goldilocks normally is portrayed as 2. False – I just said “she got no answer”. She could have rung and bell or called out 3. Correct – “the three bears came home” 4. False – I didn’t state what meal these bowls were from 5. False – the first was too cold and the second too hot. I did not say she ate the last bowl or that it was ‘just right’ 6. Correct – there were three chairs 7. False – She wandered ‘next door’ to the chairs but we don’t know what room this was 8. Correct – this is what she said 9. False – She went ‘over the gate’ to get out of the garden 10. Correct – Goldilocks did escape into the forrest

So, how did you do? If it is any consolation I have never had someone get all of these questions right. Therefore, let’s have a closer look at why this might be and what lessons we can take forward through this book and into our everyday lives. In the previous active listening Section 5, we saw a whole host of reasons that people don’t listen – some intentional, some not. But, as far as this exercise goes the biggest reason for making mistakes is that we make assumptions. We have all heard the story before so think we know what happens. As a result we can switch off or believe we have heard something when we haven’t. In this respect this story is very much like dealing with people we have know for a while. We may believe we are familiar with their ‘story’ and think it is likely to be the same every time you hear it. We also may be tempted to find the same solutions or ask the same questions each time. If on the other hand we are given the opportunity to identify and test our assumptions we become more knowledgeable and credible.

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Body language

6 Body language Body language can be described as… “the conscious and unconscious movements and postures by which attitudes and feelings are communicated”

The skill you need to learn here is to pick up and act upon the knowing and unknowing signs that you and the responder(s) provide. As a quick recap lets revisit the slide we looked at earlier…

 

So, what do we mean when we say 55% of communication is gleaned through body language? Well, some of the common body language markers seen when asking or answering involve the: • head • face • hands • eyes • mouth • arms • general posture We will look at each of these in turn. 23

Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Body language

6.1 Head The main movements you need to be conscious of are: • nodding • shaking • position 6.1.1

Head nodding

Head nodding is generally thought of as a universal way of saying “yes”, but there are country differences. In India for example a head rocked from side to side indicates “yes”. In Japan head nodding indicates that they hear you and not that they are necessarily saying “yes”. In Arab countries a single upward head movement is used to signal “no”. The speed of the head movement is also important. A fast head nod can show impatience, a desire to speak, or be dismissive of a responders answer. A slower cluster of 3 nods has been shown to communicate interest and a desire to continue to communicate. You can also use the head nod to your advantage by ‘persuading’ someone to agree with you. If you finish your statement with phrases such as “wouldn’t you”, or “don’t you think” whilst nodding your head the other person is more likely to mirror your body language therefore creating a greater chance that they will agree with you.

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6.1.2

Body language

Head shaking

Head shaking is generally thought of as a universal way of saying “no”. It is also one of this first gestures we learn to use (think of a small child shaking its head when it doesn’t want to eat or do something). Beware of interactions with people that use positive verbal language combined with a head shake as this “mis-match’ may be indicative of duplicity and produce neural dissonance or confusion. 6.1.3

Head position • Head up – shows a neutral position and neutral attitude to what is being asked or the conversation that is occurring • Head up – chin thrusting. This indicates superiority, arrogance or fearlessness. an exposed throat and additional height allow them to look down at you • Head down – shows negativity, fear, judging or an aggressive stance • Head tilted – shows submission as the person exposes their throat and they look smaller. It can also be indicative of interest and indeed this gesture was first described by Darwin when observing dogs. Head tilting and nodding during a conversation shows interest, nonthreatening and builds trust • Head shrug – This gesture suggests a submission apology and can often be used as a indication of the power differences between individuals

6.2

The face

Clearly this body language sign can only be picked up on during face-to-face interactions – video conferencing, Skype etc. People will often ‘give away’ their true opinions without realising it as facial expressions are often unconscious. 6.2.1

Facial expressions

There are 6 universally recognised facial expressions: • happiness • sadness • fear • disgust • surprise • anger These have come from the work of Darwin, Edman, Sorenson & Friesen.

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Body language

Activity: Without looking at the following page, can you work out which facial expression each image is depicting?

Answers:

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Body language

How did you do? There is an additional facial expression often cited and not one you want to either display or be on the receiving end of and it is this one, which you may recognise. The look of contempt which is characterised by raising your mouth on one side only.

This is the look of contempt which is characterised by raising your mouth on one side only.

6.3 Hands The next body language cue we will look at involves the hands. The main elements that you need to be aware of are: • hands on hips • picking at clothing 6.3.1

Hands on hips

This increases our physical size and presence and shows we are ready for ‘action’ – hence it is often called ‘the readiness gesture’. It can be indicative of aggression or readiness to tackle a problem or objective. If during a face-to-face conversation both parties ‘square up’ and take this stance it shows competition and a free flowing discussion cannot take place until gestures become more open and relaxed.

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6.3.2

Body language

Picking at imaginary bits (on your clothing)

This is known as a displacement gesture and is often accompanied by an eyes down gesture. It is a sign that a person is withholding an opinion and shows disapproval in what is being said (even if they agree with it), for example in the case of receiving feedback. As the questioner your body language needs to remain open and your verbal language should be assertive not aggressive or submissive. Your aim is to increase trust, dialogue and eye contact.

6.4 Eyes George Herbert wrote… “the eyes have one language everywhere”

As personal interactions go you can tell at lot from the way someone uses their eyes. Think about someone who does not want their intensions known – for example a poker player. They often wear dark glasses even when inside so that they do not inadvertently ‘give their game away’. Therefore, learning these signs is vital in becoming a good ‘reader’ of people.

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

6.4.1

Body language

avoiding eye contact

This can be indicative of: • wanting to hide emotions or true feelings • insecurity – especially if the questioner and responder have different ‘power’ bases • lying • fear of rejection – either of themselves or their opinions • low self esteem • introversion 6.4.2 staring Staring is usually accompanied by reduced blinking. It can be indicative of: • power play – who will look away first? • disbelief and shock • interest The acceptability of staring is something we have to learn. Small children often have to learn when it is and is not acceptable to stare at something or someone. Gentle eye contact on the other hand increases our willingness to cooperate and increases truthful interactions and emotional intelligence. 6.4.3

looking left

Looking left is thought to occur when we are recalling or remembering something. 6.4.4

looking right

Looking right is thought to occur when we are imaging or being creative. It could also indicate lying, but this is certainly not always the case.

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6.4.5

Body language

other movements

Other eye movements include: • eye roll – shows frustration or exasperation • rapid blinking – shows excitement or pleasure • raised eyebrow – shows acknowledgement, recognition or informal greeting • winking – This is a very informal gesture (remember the fuss made when George W. Bush winked at the Queen in 2007). It also shows acknowledgement or a shared secret or joke

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Body language

6.5 Mouth Mouth movements were seen in section 6.2 when we looked at the main facial expressions, but we also need to be aware of smiling. As general rule genuine smiles involve the eyes and fake ones are independent.

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Body language

6.6 Arms The main body language gestures that involve the arms are: • crossed • hands clenched • holding items 6.6.1 Crossed Crossed arms – usually indicate defensiveness or reluctance to engage in conversation, but can be simply because someone is cold! It is often a gesture used by people who feel threatened either by the questioner or the question and want to ‘keep themselves safe’.

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Body language

6.6.2 fist This shows hostility and defensiveness and can be indicative of aggression, suborned or lack of empathy.

6.6.3 items Someone holding anything in front of themselves – for example a cup, papers or a pen, shows nervousness and a need for a physical barrier.

6.7

General posture

These involve multiple elements which combine to give a whole posture or gesture. 6.7.1

Readiness gesture

Readiness gesture – this; seated, relaxed, open, leaning forward stance shows a willingness to engage and be open and honest.

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6.7.2

Body language

Catapult gesture

Catapult gesture – is characterised by arms behind head, elbows out, leaning back. This gesture rather than being a sign of openness is designed to intimidate and can be used to lull others into thinking everything is going well before they launch an attack.

Other things to consider when we examine body language which you need to be aware of are: • how close we are to others • how we touch others and ourselves • how we interact with other items – phones, pens etc. • our heart rate So, I hope that you can see that although this book is about questioning you can not look at verbal words in isolation as; tone, pitch, speed, body language and listening all play a role.

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Introduction to 12 question types

7 Introduction to 12 question types There are a huge variety of question types you can pose, but the key is to match the question and its type to the context and audience. The very least you should be asking yourself is: • who is my audience? • what is their frame of mind? • what is my relationship with them? • how do I think I sit on a credibility/knowledge scale with them? • is this the right time to ask? • is this the right environment to ask in? • do I have a pre-conceived idea about how they will respond? • are my intensions ‘good’?

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Introduction to 12 question types

Question: how many different types of question do you think there are?

Answer: there are 12…who knew!?

Obviously some are more familiar than others, for example open and closed, but others are more advanced in nature and implementation. Clearly we do not consciously label our everyday conversations but as I said at the beginning being an effective communicator and questioner is about posing the right question in the right environment to the right person at the right time. Don’t forget of course that throughout a given conversation you may have to employ a variety of question types and adapt to the interaction(s) that plays out. Question asking, responding and communications are not a ‘one size or strategy fits all’. With this in mind lets look at each question type in turn. We will examine its; features, examples, pros and cons and situations in which it is most appropriate or indeed inappropriate. All this will give you the information you need to undertake outstanding interactions. The questions we will cover are: 1. closed 2. tag or tail 3. open 4. imaginative 5. funnel 6. probing 7. recall & process 8. socratic – 6 types 9. leading 10. loaded 11. rhetorical 12. empathetic/emotional

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Closed questions

8 Closed questions This is a good place to start as far as question types go as it is familiar to most, if not all of us. The main features of closed q’s are: • single or short word answers – “yes”, “no”, “don’t know” • they usually provide a factual answer • used to gain clarification or conclude a discussion • a misplaced closed question can stop conversation and led to silence • they ‘force’ a person to give a brief answer which isn’t asking for expansion • they are often easy to answer because the choice of answers is limited • they can get the answer to a question quickly • the questioner stays in control of the conversation Examples: “do you smoke?” “would you like white or brown bread?” “what is your name?”

Pros If you want quick, short, factual answers which allow you to stay in control closed questions are a good option. I work a lot with the emergency services and this is used to great effect in emergency time limited environments (‘hot’). Longer questions and debriefs are than used after the event when the environment is ‘cold’. Cons They should not be used to prevent someone from having their say, dismissing an individuals contribution or to give the impression that the questioner is aggressive in their approach. Closed questions when combined with confrontational body language can be particularly damaging to relationships.

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Tag questions (sometime known as tail questions)

9 Tag questions (sometime known as tail questions) You can turn a given opinion into a closed question forcing a “yes” or “no” answer by adding a ‘tag question’ to any statement. this techniques encourages someone to agree with you, even if they do not want to. This technique is often used to get compliance or agreement. As such it can be viewed as confrontational or defensive, but in actual fact it may be a sign of lack of confidence or tentativeness. The main features of tag or tail questions are: • they turn a statement into a question • they allow us to check what we suspect or know is true Examples of a tag or tail: “wont you” “can’t you” “isn’t it” “don’t you” “can’t they”

NB you can exchange “you” for “he” or “she” Examples of a tag question: “you can do this today, can’t you?” “I am the best person for this job, aren’t I?” “mine is the best way to do it, isn’t it?”

Pros You can get someone to agree with you even if they don’t really want to. Cons A person ‘forced’ or ‘tricked’ into agreeing may well feel aggrieved and less likely to engage in conversation or cooperation at a later date.

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Open questions

10 Open questions As with closed questions, this type of question is well known to all of us. In order to get the most out of open questions you must be an active listener (see section 5 – active listening) The main features of open q’s are: • they provide longer answers than closed questions • they often start with; what, when, why, how, tell me, describe • they often ask for a persons; knowledge, ideas, opinions or feelings • good for finding out detail • encourage conversation • they require the responder to think and reflect • they give conversation ‘control’ to the responder Examples of a open questions beginning: what… when… why… how… tell me… describe…

Pros A proficient communicator can get the responder to ask them open questions which means you can steer the conversation around to what you want to talk about. Cons This type of conversation can take much longer than closed questions and you need to be a good active listener.

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Imaginative questions

11 Imaginative questions Imaginative questions seek to free both the questioner and responder from the norms and constraints of normal questioning or conversation. It requires us to remove ourselves from our normal environment and see things in a different light. Questions that fall under this category are often called: blue sky thinking thinking out of the box looking at the world through rose tinted glasses

Examples: “if money was no object what would you do/buy” “if we didn’t have time constraints what could we achieve”

Pros Thinking creatively and without restraint can enable people to come up with innovative and creative ideas that would otherwise not ‘be allowed’ Cons Because of there lack ‘of the real world’ they can often be parodied or seem as ‘a waste of time’. People can view these conversations as pointless.

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Funnel questions

12 Funnel questions These questions funnel or channel the responder(s). They work by starting with open questions and restricting down to closed ones. Although it can work the other way i.e. closed to open questions

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Funnel questions

This first method (open to closed questioning) is used by the police or counsellors in order to obtain the maximum amount of information possible. It is sometimes called deductive reasoning. The second method (closed to opening) can be used when establishing a rapport with someone, as it allows each party to define boundaries and relax in each others company. It is sometimes called inductive reasoning. Focus words and ‘tell me more about xyz’ are features. Focus words examples: specifically actually particularly what, how & when

Tell me more about examples: “tell me more about…” “what do you remember about…”

Pros Funnel questions are ideal for finding out more detail and focusing on the information you require. The nature of the interaction you get from these questions means that you can establish a rapport and as a result be more open and honest. Cons Funnel questions can take time and you have to be mindful of asking questions which may bias the responder.

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Probing questions

13 Probing questions The main feature of probing questions is: • they seek to obtain more detail There are 11 different types of probing questions: • clarification • purpose • relevance • repetition • echo • examples • extension • accuracy • completeness • emotional • evaluation Clarification Used to get more detail when the responder uses language which is vague or unclear. Examples would be: “what did you mean by xxx” “can you tell me more about”

Purpose Used when when there is confusion about the purpose of what they said. Examples would be: “what were you thinking about when you said…” “why did you say…”

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Probing questions

Relevance This can be used if this discussion or conversation looks like it is going off track. An example would be: “how is xxx related to the question”

Repetition This is one of the best ways of getting more detail or probing. You can ask the question in the same way as before or you can rephrase it (be careful you don’t ask leading or probing questions though). Examples would be: “where did you go” “what places did you visit”

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Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Probing questions

Echo A variation on the repetition question is to repeat what has been said emphasising areas you would like more detail or adding to their answer. This is known as an echo question. An example would be: A = “Can we go out” Q = “Can we go out, what do you think?”

By using words that are familiar to the responder (i.e. their own) you avoid adding your own bias and make them feel comfortable. Echo questions can also be used to bounce a response back and avoid answering. Examples During some conversations a responder may be vague or evasive and you may need to ask for specific examples in order to test the depth of their answer or the honestly behind it. Example questions are often used during job or promotional interviews. Examples would be: “can you give me an example of when you overcame a challenging work situation” “can you tell me about a time when you…”

Extension This is used when a responder has not given enough detail in their answer and you want to hear more. Example would be: “what happened after that” “can you tell me a little more about that please”

Accuracy and completeness Sometimes a responder may make a genuine or deliberate mistake which you need to clarify. In this case you are checking their answer against the information you already have. Examples would be: “how does that compare with the answer yo gave earlier” “Is there anything that you have missed out”

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Probing questions

Emotional When we are asked an emotional question we may answer in the third person. This may be to: • prevent our answer from appearing to be our own • ‘protect’ ourselves from revealing too much • protect our vulnerability • to distance ourselves from the response. In order to clarify that the answer is ‘owned’ by the responder we could ask… “How did you feel about that”

NB be aware of pushing someone too far and eliciting a reactionary response When I teach managing conflict this is one of the things we look at. For example showing perpetrators the emotional impact an encounter has on someone by the injured party using “I ”, so they ‘own’ the emotion (not “you” as this is confrontational). Evaluation This type of question is used to get someone to rank or judge something. Examples would be: “how do you know it is good” “what are the pros and cons of this”

Probing questions summary A proficient communicator and questioner that can put the other person(s) at ease before probing for more information is sometimes said to be employing the ‘Columbo Technique’, after the 1970 detective who got suspects talking freely and then slipped in the real question. It is worthwhile noting than probing questions can also be ‘asked’ by using your body language. A tilting of the head or raising of eyebrows shows your interest and may encourage the responder to go into more detail without you actually having to say anything.

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Recall & process questions

14 Recall & process questions Recall questions require something to be remembered or memorised and recalled. Process questions require thought and analysis. A recall question example would be: “what is your maiden name”

A process question example would be: “what can you bring to this role that your colleagues can not”

Pros Recall and process questions test memory and analytical skills, allow comparison between responders and show a persons thought process. It is this element that means they are often used in job interviews. Cons Recalling and processing information may be difficult under pressure and I liken this pressure of having to write everything you know about a subject during an exam as opposed to being marked on course work when you have time to consider, plan and respond. Therefore, you may need to leave these questions with the responder if appropriate to do so in order to give them time to think and give you a considered answer or response.

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Socratic Questions

15 Socratic Questions In section 13 we looked at probing questions and this one of the 6 types of questions employed by Socrates. All 6 question types are designed to challenge accuracy and completeness of thinking. As such this type of questioning is often employed in an academic setting. The 6 types of Socratic questions are: • conceptual clarification questions • probing assumptions • probing rationale, reason and evidence • probing implications and consequences • questioning viewpoints and perspectives • questions about the question

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15.1

Socratic Questions

Conceptual clarification questions

These questions get the responder to consider what they are thinking or asking and prove the concepts that back up their argument. The basic notion is that you ask ‘tell me more style’ questions. Examples of conceptual clarification questions are: Why do you say that? What (exactly) does this mean? How does this relate to what we have been discussing? What is the nature of…? What do you already know about this? Can you give me an example of that? Are you saying___? Can you put that in different words?

15.2

Probing assumptions

Probing their assumptions makes a responder think about the presuppositions and unquestioned beliefs on which they are founding their argument. This is questioning should really get them thinking! Examples of probing assumption questions are: Is there anything else could we assume? You seem to assume…? How did you choose your assumptions? Please explain why/how you say that…? How can you prove or disprove that? What do you think would happen if…? Do you agree or disagree with…?

15.3

Probing rationale, reason and evidence

When a person gives a rationale for their arguments, dig into that reasoning rather than assuming it is a given. People often use weakly-understood or poorly considered support for their arguments. Examples of probing rationale, reason and evidence questions are: Why is this going to happen? Why do you know this? Can you give me an example? What do you think causes that…? Are these reasons well considered? Would that stand up in court? How could it be rejected? How can I be sure you are right? Why? – ask this multiple times What evidence do you have to support what you are saying?

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15.4

Socratic Questions

Probing implications and consequences

The argument that a person gives may have logical implications that can be predicted. So ask, do these make sense? or are they desirable? Examples of probing implications and consequences are: what would happen next? What do you think are the consequences of making that assumption? How could that be used to? What are the implications of that? How does ‘x’ affect ‘y’? How does that fit with what we learned previously?

15.5

Questioning viewpoints and perspectives

Most arguments are given from a particular position. So we need to ‘attack’ the position and show that there are other, equally valid viewpoints. Examples of questioning viewpoints and perspectives are: Another way of looking at this is…? What other ways are there of looking at this are there? What benefits are there from this? What is the difference between… and…? Why is ‘x’ better than ’y’? What are the strengths and weaknesses of…? What would happen if you compared ‘x’ and ‘y’? Could you look at this another way?

15.6

Questions about the question

You can also turn the question in on itself. Use someones answer or response against themselves – pass the ball back into their court, etc. Examples of questions about the question are: What was the point of asking that question? Why do you think I asked this question? Am I making sense? Why am I not making sense? What else could I ask? What does that mean?

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leading questions

16 Leading questions This type of question steers the responder into a certain direction (albeit subtly). Often the questioner is looking to have something confirmed, which is why these types of questions feature heavily in the law setting. An example of leading and non-leading questions would be: Leading question: “were you at Kings Park on 31st December”? A non leading version: “where were you on 31st December”

Another place they sometime feature (when they shouldn’t) is in surveys and questionnaires as they can create bias and render your results unusable or open to question. They make responders feel there is an obvious way to answer and they ‘don’t have a choice’ but to give a certain response. They can also reveal the designers own bias and/or opinion. An example of leading questions in questionnaires would be: Leading question: “experts believe that consumers should…, do you agree / neutral / disagree?” Non -leading question: “consumers should…strongly disagree / disagree / neutral / agree / strongly agree”

Pros Leading questions can get you the answer you want, although this may not be the answer the responder actually wants to give you. Cons Biased, leading questions can render your data unusable and open to question.

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Loaded questions

17 Loaded questions These are sometimes confused with leading questions. Loaded questions suggest that the way a person responds says something about them. They are rather ‘stealth like’ in nature and don’t look to open a discussion. An example of loaded, neutral & leading question would be: Loaded question: “do you care enough about your child to stop them from go-karting” A neutral version: “do you let your child go-kart” A leading version “would you reconsider letting your child go-kart if you knew how many injuries were sustained every year?”

Pros Loaded questions can give you the answers you want. Cons As with leading questions, loaded questions sometimes feature in surveys or questionnaires, and as such can render your results invalid. Strongly positive or negative loaded words or labels can bias responders and prime then for a given mindset. For example a question that starts with “most people think” ensures that most responders want to answer with the perceived majority.

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Rhetorical questions

18 Rhetorical questions These are questions that do not require an answer. They are used to promote thought, emphasise a point or persuade and influence – hence why they are often used when presenting. Examples would be: are you stupid? do pigs fly? how should I know? why me? is the sky blue?

Pros Rhetorical questions can promote thought as well as persuade and influence. Cons Because a response is not required, this isn’t really a question and so a responder may be confused as to what is required of them.

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Empathetic or emotional questions

19 Empathetic or emotional questions These are in many ways the most challenging of questions to ask and it is for this reason that I have left these until last. Marc Pachter describes the questioner in this case as being the… “agent of another person’s self-revelation”

Empathetic or emotional questions encourage responders to say what they really want to deep inside. This exchange is almost like a dance in which a 2-way conversation builds trust and rapport until an exchange occurs which is; revealing, honest, thought provoking and creative. Instances in which these questions are used are during conflict management, coaching and mentoring. Examples would be: “how did that make you feel” “what effect did that have” “what do you really want to happen”

Pros Emotional and empathetic questions when handled correctly can increase honesty and trust. By doing so emotional intelligence (EI) is raised and more productive relationships are borne. Cons This type of interaction takes time and cannot be rushed as the issues discussed can cause upset and distress. You also need to be aware of confidentially issues, for example you may need to state before you start talking if your conversation is private or it may be shared. This type of question may also involve power play if the questioner is more powerful than the responder and they feel ‘pressurised’ into answering or revealing themselves.

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8 Common Responses to questions

20 8 Common Responses to questions As there are a myriad of questions and question types so there must also be a myriad of possible responses. The 8 main responses to questions are: • direct & honest • a lie • out of context • partial answer • avoidance • stalling • distortion • refusal We will take each of these in turn.

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20.1

8 Common Responses to questions

direct & honest

This is what we normally presume the questioner would want to achieve from asking their question. But, this is not always the case, so be honest about the response you want prior to asking your question.

20.2

a lie

The respondent(s) may lie in response to a question. The questioner may be able to pick up on a lie based on plausibility of the answer but also on the non verbal communication that was used immediately before, during and after the answer is given.

20.3

out of context

The respondent(s) may say something that is totally unconnected or irrelevant to the question or attempt to change the topic. It may be appropriate to reword a question in these cases.

20.4

partial answer

People can often be selective about which questions or part of questions they wish to answer.

20.5 avoidance Politicians are especially well known for this trait. When asked a ‘difficult question’ which probably has an answer that would be negative to the politician or their political party, avoidance can be a useful tact. Answering a question with a question or trying to draw attention to some positive aspect of the topic are methods of avoidance.

20.6 stalling Stalling – Although similar to avoiding answering a question, stalling can be used when more time is needed to formulate an acceptable answer. One way to do this is to answer the question with another question, or ask for more time to consider a response.

20.7 distortion People can give distorted answers to questions based on their perceptions of social norms, stereotypes and other forms of bias. Different from lying, respondents may not realise their answers are influenced by bias or they exaggerate in some way to come across as more ‘normal’ or successful. For example people often exaggerate upwards about their salaries and downwards in the case of how much they eat or drink.

20.8 refusal The respondent may simply refuse to answer, either by remaining silent or by saying, “I am not answering”. If you want to learn more please see the link below https://www.udemy.com/your-ultimate-guide-to-questioning-listening/?couponCode=Bookboon 56

Your ultimate guide to questioning & Listening

Summary

21 Summary In this book we have looked at: • What is questioning? “A sentence, phrase, or gesture that seeks information through a reply” • What can questions do? • gain knowledge • promote and expand thinking • clarify • probe • guide • intimidate • attack • Why do we ask them? • to obtain information • curiosity • to maintain control of a conversation • to express interest in another person(s) • to clarify • to encourage thought • to test or gain knowledge ASK – Achieve Success (by) Knowledge • to enhance vision • to explore personality or difficulties • in group settings i.e. classrooms or focus groups – discussion or group think • for critical reflective learning – what went well, what went badly • to show others how much we know!

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Summary

• Active listening In practice what you would do is: • start with open questions that allow the responder to answer fully and without boundaries • then move on to tailored probing questions and • finally closed questions with short word answers that allow you to clarify or check that you have truly understood what has been said

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Summary

Body language Common body language markers seen when asking or answering involve the: • head • face • hands • eyes • mouth • arms • general posture

 

Communication elements:

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Summary

Why we don’t hear: • we are thinking of the next question to ask • we don’t listen, we wait to speak • we presume we know what the other person is going to say • we have preconceived ideas about what is going to be discussed • we are preoccupied with our own thoughts and don’t commit to the conversation • we try to finish someones sentences and ‘rush’ the conversation • we only selectively listen • emotions get in the way • we don’t pay attention to, or pick up on speech qualities 12 different types of questions – that you can ask or be asked • closed • tag or tail • open • imaginative • funnel • probing • recall & process • socratic – 6 types • leading • loaded • rhetorical • empathetic/emotional Responses to questions • direct & honest • a lie • out of context • partial answer • avoidance • stalling • distortion • refusal If you want to learn more please see the link below https://www.udemy.com/your-ultimate-guide-to-questioning-listening/?couponCode=Bookboon

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Supplementary information

22 Supplementary information 22.1

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to perceive, identify, evaluate and control emotions. It is concerned with two elements of intelligence, namely understanding yourself and others. EI as a whole is used to examine and understand peoples: • Style of working • Behaviour • Attitude • Interpersonal skills • Intra-personal skills • Potential

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Supplementary information

It can be used in the workplace to: • Recruit and select staff • Develop manager and leaders • Understand customer relations and service • HR planning Models of EI: • Bar-on (1997) • Goleman model (1995) • Salovey and Mayor’s 4 Branch Model (1997) Bar-On Model of Emotional-Social Intelligence (ESI) This model looks at EI in terms of being able to: • Effectively understand yourself and others • Relate appropriately to others • Cope and adapt to your environment and its demands Bar-on believed that EI contributes to a persons overall level of intelligence and that this was a skill that could be ‘taught’. These skills and competencies explain and influence how we express and understand ourselves and others and how well we are able to cope with the daily pressures, challenges and demands of our working lives. f

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Supplementary information

He used his skills, competencies and facilitators to produce the 133 point BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-iTM).

 

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Supplementary information

Goleman Model This was described in Daniel Golman’s 1995 book ‘Emotional Intelligence’. He identified 5 than later 4 domains of: • Self awareness • Self management • Social awareness • Social skills The Goleman domains may seem to some to be soft or ‘airy fairy’ especially in today highly competitive market but we have shown in the examples above that organizations are linking EI to hard financial impact and growth. You will also no doubt have your own experiences of leaders or managers who are ‘emotionless’ and ‘robot like’. These individuals can be hard to connect with and share an empathetic exchange.

Salovey and Mayor’s 4 Branch Model (1997) This is also known as The Ability Model of EI and it encompasses: • Perceiving emotion • Using emotion • Understanding emotion • Managing emotion 64

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Supplementary information

Each of these four domains contains both basic and more advanced skills and they are sequential rather than hierarchical in nature – perceiving emotion at the bottom followed by using, understanding and managing emotion. This model can be measured by the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) (MSCEIT – Youth for children). Summary of EI – Why does it even matter? If you think about the range of feelings and emotions that you experience at work the list is probably quite long. These can include: • Anger • Hurt • Jealousy • Feeling misunderstood • Feeling under appreciated • Insecurity • Fear • Isolation • Powerless • Confidence • Happiness • Pleasure

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Supplementary information

By recognizing and managing positive and negative emotions within yourself and others you can make a huge difference to; you as an individual, those around you, your team and the wider organization. “It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head – it is the unique intersection of both” David Caruso

If you would like to assess and develop your EI as great place to start is by looking at The Boston Ei Questionnaire.

22.2

Top ten ways to establish rapport 10 Tips for Establishing a Rapport

What is rapport? Rapport essentially means getting on with others and it is often referred to as ‘getting on’, or ‘hitting it off’. It comes from the French word ‘rapporter’ which means to carry something back 1. adopt a relaxed posture – open body language, relaxed limbs and gentle eye contact. 2. smiling – remember fake smiles don’t involve the eyes 3. use the other persons name early as this is seen as polite and relaxes both parties. You may want to ask what they like to be known as before, just incase they do not normally go by their ‘official’ name or title 4. don’t be judgemental or ask loaded questions. Stereotypes, bias and preconceived ideas adversely affect rapport 5. offer a compliment and be polite 6. mirror positive body language and the tone, tempo and pitch of speech 7. try and find ‘common ground’ or ‘something in common’ 8. even if you don’t agree try and understand someones viewpoint, answer and where they are coming from – “I can see why you might say that but….” 9. shaking hands before and after meeting established body contact (beware of cultural differences) 10. have a balance between ‘asking’ and ‘telling’. Don’t ‘hog’ the conversation or expect someone else to do all the talking, be an active but equal element

22.3 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Top ten most asked interview questions Tell me about yourself what are your weaknesses? what is your greatest accomplishment? Why did you leave your last job? Why do you want to work with us Why did you apply for this position? What would you like to be doing 5 years from now? Why should I hire you? What salary are you expecting Do you have any questions to ask me?

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22.4

Supplementary information

Top ten questions to change your life Top 10 questions that could ‘change your life’

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

What do you truly love in life? What would you stand for if you knew you wouldn’t be judged If you didn’t have boundaries and limits what would you want to have and choose to do? Who do you admire most? What are your greatest accomplishments to date? What would I attempt if I knew I couldn’t fail? Imagine your life one year from now. Will you be ok if it looks the same as now? What are you really good at? What can you control? Are you holding onto something you need to let go of

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