the art of questioning

The Art of Questioning: Adapt Your Probes to the Other Person’s Behavior

Effective Questioning Adapts to the Person

When you’re pulled in so many different directions at work each day, time is precious. It can feel easier to send another e-mail than to have a one-on-one conversation. But does e-mail really save time?  Your recipient can potentially misunderstand the tone of your message, or you might spend a lot of time sending clarifying questions and answers back and forth — you’re not saving much time there.  It might feel counterintuitive, but when you’re busy, a face-to-face conversation can save time. And to maximize that time, it’s important to adapt your questions to the other person’s behavior. We call this the art of questioning.

Effective Questioning Techniques

In this month’s video, Dr. Emily Ingalls, Vice President of Organizational Consulting, shows how you can master the art of questioning by tailoring your probes to steer the conversation effectively.

Questioning Strategies

Hi, I’m Emily Ingalls, Vice President of Organizational Consulting. I’m here with a leadership tip. We’re talking about effective conversations today. Did you know that by tailoring your questions to the other person’s behavior, you can make your conversations more productive.

Quick recap of the Dimensional Model

We believe that most behavior can be described by one of four types or styles otherwise known as Qs. We’ll refer to each Q as we talk about the types of probes that you may want to use.

Dimensional Model of Behavior

Probing Question Examples

Below are a variety of different types of probing questions and when to best utilize them.

Open Ended Questions

Q1 behavior is all about visibility and acknowledgement. Open-ended probes can help this behavior feel heard and seen.

Open Ended Questions and Pauses

Q2 behavior, on the other hand, is the most hesitant. Give this behavior the time and space to open up by using open-ended probes and giving ample time and pausing to solicit more responses.

Closed Ended Questions

Q3 behavior is the most social. You may find for this behavior that closed-ended probes help to keep the conversation on track and focused.

Open Ended Questions and Summary Statements

Finally, Q4 behavior is appropriately collaborative. Here use the balance of open-ended probes, neutral probes and summary statements to facilitate a strong and results-oriented conversation.

Here is a summary:  You can make your conversations even more productive if you tailor your questions to the other person’s behavior.  Thanks for watching.

Ready for More The Art of Questioning Resources?

Check out our Do You Work with a Difficult Person Questionnaire. It will help you place the person on the Dimensional Model and give you additional tips for dealing effectively with them.

We have a whole workshop that teaches you the art of questioning and much more.

And don’t forget to sign up for more leadership tips from our experts.

Hopefully these resources will help you master the art of questioning!

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