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  • Writer's pictureBob Prentice


It seems to me that people in general do not ask enough questions–that there seems to be something that holds them back from asking questions. Sometimes, I believe this is because people do not want to know the answers; other times they think they already have the answers so do not need to ask questions. I am convinced that many people do not ask questions because they are either afraid to ask them, but many just don't know how to ask questions.

As hard as asking questions can be for some of us, it is absolutely vital to our success in every area of life to learn how to ask questions. But before we get into that, let's review the benefits of asking questions. Asking questions . . .

  • Opens the lines of communication;

  • Saves you time;

  • Helps you clarify and make better decisions;

  • Causes people to think and sometimes feel pain;

  • Gives you knowledge and wisdom.

You should never be afraid to ask questions, but you must first be sure you have the right attitude. I believe the best way to do that is to always ask permission before you begin asking questions. Simply say something like, "May I have your permission to ask you a few questions?" This shows your respect for the other person and helps to put them in the right attitude to answer your questions. Once you have gained a person's permission, you may proceed with your questions, asking in a winsome manner.

There are a number of different types of questions; I will share three of them with you here:

Person-centered questions are a great way to build a rapport, and establish a foundation for great communications. Here are a couple of examples of person-centered questions: What do you do for fun? Do you have any hobbies? Have you learned anything new lately?

Problem-centered questions cause people to make change or arouse in them an eager want to make change. Here are a couple of examples of problem-centered questions: What will happen if you continue on this path? What is the downside?

Payout-centered questions (my favorite type of question to ask) gets people thinking in terms the ultimate benefits they might receive. Here are a couple examples of payout-centered questions: What will it ultimately mean to you if this challenge were resolved? How will you benefit if we were to overcome this?

May I encourage you to ask more questions? In asking questions, you will learn, you will grow, and you will cause people to think differently. Asking questions in a winsome manner will enhance your life!

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