Whether you’re de-briefing an activity or pushing your learners to go deeper on a thought they shared, the type of questions you ask your audience matter.
For example: Is there a particular type of customer you’d prefer to browse (and return to) your website?
Answer: Yes. Or no. But that’s it. Yes. Or no. Head nodding. Or shaking of heads. Or blank stares because closed-ended questions like this don’t really require much thinking.
Yet in presentation after presentation, I’m surprised at how often a facilitator uses closed-ended questions in an attempt to engage the audience and to make a session more interactive. In the end, closed-ended questions generally serve to needlessly (and sometimes painfully) prolong a session and the facilitator often does most of the talking.
What’s the solution? A slight tweek to the way questions are phrased.
For example: What kinds of customers would you prefer to have browse (and return to) your website?
Answer: Customers with deep pockets and lots of money and who fit our core demographic.
Facilitator: Interesting. Tell me more about what you mean by “deep pockets” and “lots of money” and just who is our “core demographic”?
Suddenly, instead of head nodding (or shaking), we have a conversation! And now others can jump in and agree or disagree. With a slight tweek to the way a question is asked, things can get good and lively very quickly.
Next time you’re looking to engage your audience in truly engaging conversation – whether in the middle of a lesson or during a de-brief, try a few of these question starters:
Instead of beginning with…
|Is there…||What kinds of…|
|Has anyone ever…||Tell me about a time that…|
|Does this sound familiar…||How does this situation compare to your own experiences…|
|Do you agree with…||What would make you agree with…|
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