Understand the Purpose Behind the Question

The ability to ask good questions is essential in today’s world. However, as Stephen Covey categorized in one of his 7 Habits; “Seek first to Understand, then to be understood.” Or another way Dale Carnegie phrased this, “To be interesting, be interested.” To accomplish this, I think one of the areas that most of could work on is to develop our ability to quickly recognize the purpose of the question. When we do this, it is much easier to align perspectives and therefore engage in collaborative efforts.

Adapted from the work of Stafford (2009) and from the book, Collaborating for Inquiry-Based Learning: School Librarians and Teachers Partner for Student Achievement by Virginia L. Wallace and Whitney N. Husid, the Purposes for Question diagram is an ideal training aid for me in sales and marketing. I took this aid designed for Inquiry-Based Learning and applied it to emails I received and meeting notes. Later as it became more intuitive, I pinned it up during online meetings and made notes accordingly. Later in a few sales calls, I used it in a similar way and found it to be quite effective. Also, it serves as a nice prompt for me in phrasing my own questions.

The outline has severed as a good training exercise. More than likely, I will gradually use less of it as time goes on. Instinctively; I will recognize the purposes or at least I think I will. :)

Purposes for Questions PDF

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