Tag: good questions

3D Ideas 744: Language

rain-955956Claire writes: “People ask great questions.  Many people ask several great questions in quick succession! This dilutes the impact of the first question.  When I am giving feedback while listening to people having great conversations, I often need to invite them to stop talking.  They have said something great… and it loses its impact with every extra word!  It’s common to invite people to say the same thing using 90% less words.

 

Some of the people we meet work in several languages.  One is now speaking publicly in Welsh and has noticed that she now speaks more simply in English.  Another is coaching in English more than in his first language because he recognises that he listens better.

 

Another insight into less being more.”
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3D Ideas 740: A Question

eye-1245662_1280Claire writes: “A delegate on a course pointed out that long questions often evoke short answers.  Short questions often evoke long answers.  When the purpose of a conversation is to facilitate someone else’s thinking, short questions are always more effective

A question doesn’t have to be a question to be a question.  A glance, a word, a gesture can all be great questions. They also stop the delay between a question emerging and us turning it into something grammatical and structured – which often loses its impact.”

 

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3D Ideas 729: Connections

Claire writes:  “spider-web-with-water-beads-921039_1280It’s interesting how often people come to talk with a handful of separate things… which are almost always connected.
And as Nick Smith said,
  • How are these related? is story
  • What’s the connection? is about the person
Connection is a useful question as that’s often where the transformation will emerge.”
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Some feedback we received: Don’t really get this! If you’ve time for a short elaboration, would be very grateful.
Our  response:
Interestingly you’re the only person who has asked – so thank you for that.

It comes, I think, from the fact that we spend a great deal of time talking to problems rather than people.  How are those related I sense is about the stuff outside.
How are these connected is about ‘what’s the connection, for you, about the things we are thinking about – and that often leads to what’s the connection in you’ – and that’s where change can happen.
Great question – and I appreciate it wasn’t as clear as it could have been so appreciate your feedback

3D Ideas 724: Deep

glacier-170556_1280Claire writes: “In a conversation, it’s easy to slip in to answering the questions we are asked. That is especially true when trust is high. At 3D we encourage people to learn to be feisty thinkers and to say whether a question is useful or not.

But who decides how deep a conversation needs to go? In every conversation and in every life, there is plenty under the surface. Sometimes that’s useful to explore and probe and deepen and sometimes it isn’t. A coaching style workes equally well when we are thinking about what we do, how we might do it, and who we are. But we need to ask permission to go deeper. ‘Are we going deeper?’ is a great question. And using a coaching style at work, let’s remember that even when deeper may be useful, it may not be useful with a colleague. I sometimes ask: ‘That thing we are not talking about, have you somewhere safe where you are processing it?’ That names the depth and leaves the person who is thinking in control.”

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3D Ideas 723: Forget It

idea-1296140_1280

Claire writes: “Questions. When we develop people to ask great questions, they often write down all the ones we are asking. Yet the greatest questions are not the ones in the book, nor the one you have heard us ask – they are the unimpressive, ungrammatical, incomplete words or phrases or gestures that responds to what you see or hear or sense.

As we facilitate someone else’s thinking, they won’t remember most of the questions that move them on – too much thinking to be done! Occasionally they will remember a deep one to take away because it needs more attention. So the shorter our questions, the quicker they are dropped and forgotten if they’re not useful.”

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3D Ideas 719: Inattention

rest-413103_1280Claire writes: “One of the exercises we use in training allows the thinker in a conversation to control it.  They only ask for a question from a group when they need one. It slows down the pace of questioning from the coach/ facilitator and speeds up their own thinking. Ironically it’s the space that increases the pace. And in the time that the group are coming up with their questions, the thinker keeps thinking – and moves on again.

When asked what they were learning one delegate said: “I’m learning to shut up. Just shut up!” It’s the gift of giving space whilst being attentively not bothered.

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3D Ideas 718: Upside Down

Claire writes: “Listening to some great work conversations last week, I was observing how much negative language can drag people down. ‘Tell me more about the problem’ affirms what may feel negative and it suggests there might be a solution. Most work situations are dilemmas with potential ways forward more than problems with a solution, anyway!

It may feel upside down, but useful questions might include: What’s your most important question about that?

And if someone finds that hard to articulate, start them off: “Why not start – how can I/we…?”

Positivity does not minimise what is probably a complex situation – yet it does suggest that there will, somewhere, be a way forward of some kind. And that allows people to think.”

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3D Juggling 716: It’s Complicated

Its easy to be complicatedClaire writes: “As a delegate on a course said so succinctly the other day:

‘It’s easy to be complicated. Simple is difficult’

If we have any confidence in a question we ask, we can leave it to do what it needs to. If we are so lacking in confidence that we follow up with more and more words, it may be better to say nothing. Where trust is high, saying nothing has surprisingly powerful results!”

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3D Juggling 714: How open is open?

open-966315_1280Claire writes: “It’s a great privilege to spend much of our weeks observing other people having conversations – there is so much to be learned.

I am noticing that even open questions have a scale of openness!

If I ask ‘What else?’ you might think I assume you are missing something out. It’s the same with ‘Something else?’. It’s interesting that ‘Anything else?’ is the only one received as open.

And ‘Anything else?’ or ‘?’ are both great questions to help people go deeper into their thinking.”

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3D Juggling 712: Short and Sweet

question-mark-358177_1280Claire writes: “We use an exercise in our training where people can only ask a question with 10 words or less. Recently for fun, I divided the group into three – one group could use 10 words, one group 3 words and one group 1 word.

The 10 words group could see how fast the person thinking in the 1 word group were moving and changed their rules. Short questions work. They keep people in flow. Questions like:

  • So?
  • And?
  • Go on… (particularly useful when the person has asked themselves a question – much better than reframing it!)
  • Say it?
  • And now?

In Making Questions Work, Dorothy Strachan talks about the phases of a good conversation from What? So what? to Now what?

Try it!”

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