The Best Handful of Tips 19 – Become a Skilled Questioner

The Best Handful of Tips 19 – Become a Skilled Questioner

Successful people are skilled questioners. They ask simple questions to get new information.

Good leaders have two great attributes – they know how to ask questions which brings forth useful answers and they know how to remain silent when people talk.

To advance your career master these five simple tips.

The five best questioning tips

  1. Start with comfortable questions

Don’t be in a hurry, draw people out by establishing a rapport with them to get them talking. “I hear you have a very interesting hobby. How did you start it?”

  1. Ask open-ended questions

Closed questions bring only a “yes” “no” response. “Did you attend the party last week?”

Open-ended questions invite a longer reply and get people talking. “What did you like best about the office party last week?”

  1. Ask the simple “W and H” questions

Professional interviewers use simple questions like why, what, when, where, how and how much and get most of the information they want.  To remember these learn this verse from  Kipling’s “Elephant Boy”.

“I kept six honest serving men (They taught me all I knew)

Their names were What and Why and When

And How and Where and Who.”

  1. Try some “suppose and probe” questions

“Suppose you were the boss. What things would you change?”

“You said you were not happy with your working conditions. Why is that?”

“What made you say that?”

“I am sorry to hear I have upset you. Thank you for telling me. What is the problem?”

  1. Ask agreement questions

“That sounds a good idea. So you think we could do things differently. Tell us how?”

“How would you like a job in another department? Would that suit you?”

By learning to ask simple questions you could improve your career prospects. You will also need good listening skills so try to add the skills recommended in ” The Best Handful of Tips 1 – Become a better listener”.

Geoffrey Moss

” Without the right question you will never get the right answer.”


Source: “Persuasive Ways. ‘Tricks of the trade’ to get your ideas across”. First published by  Moss Associates Ltd., New Zealand and in Chinese by the Shanghai People’s Publishing House, the Singapore Institute of Management, Kogan Page Ltd, U.K and in Hungarian by Bagolyvar Konyvkiado.  Also published as the “Secrets of Persuasion” by Cengage Learning Asia and as an e-book and sold by


Persuasive Ways (China) Cover

Secrets of Persuasion CoverPersuasive Ways Cover


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