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#4The Open Ended Question

Asking questions is an integral part of a genuine conversation. It is your first step in demonstrating interest in your team member’s active participation and opening the door to vital two-way communication between manager and employee.  And you have at your disposal two types of questions: open-ended and closed ended question.
 

The type of question you choose, and how you use it will impact the effectiveness of your conversation. As a quick exercise, answer the following questions:

Open: How will you rest this summer?
Closed: Have you rested this summer?

Open: What do you like most or least about your work?
Closed: Do you like your work?

As you answer the above questions, you may be noticing two things:

The open-ended question makes room for further insights and a larger conversation. Also you used your own words to describe your experience. As a manager asking an open-ended question, you’re getting to know your employee better, and becoming a more effective manager as a result. The key to asking an open ended question is to start it with a ‘WHAT or ‘HOW’. Because it solicits a deeper response, your most valuable question will be open ended.

As you notice from the above examples, a closed–ended question leads to a one-word answer, usually ‘yes’ or ‘no’. You can use this type of question to establish a quick fact. However, my best advice is to use it rarely: too many close-ended questions will inevitably shut the door to a genuine conversation.

 
~ Dominique
 
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