Different questions get different types of responses

By SteveDrozdeck

Drozdeck & Assoc.


Different questions — Different responses

The way you ask a question can determine whether the other person provides a limited response or will tend to be more open; whether they become defensive or willing to share information. Your tonality and word emphasis also plays a big part.

Remember: if you don’t get the reaction or response you wanted, it may be due to the question you asked.

Inquiry that limits interactions
  • Don’t you agree?
  • Do others feel that way too?
  • Do you understand what I’m trying to say?
  • Did you do that because of X, because of Y or because of Z?
  • (Thinking: “He screwed up”): Do you really think you did a good job?
  • I have some concerns about how you handled that. I’d like to say what they are and get your reactions.
  • Why don’t you just try what I’m suggesting?
  • Why didn’t you just tell me?
  • What prevented you from telling me? Did I say or do something that made it difficult?
  • Why are you so defensive?
Inquiry that furthers interactions
  • Do you have a different view?
  • What are your thoughts?
  • Do others feel differently?
  • What’s your reaction to what I’m saying?
  • What led you to do that?
  • What about what I am suggesting raises doubts?
  • You’re reaction is unexpected. What’s going on?