Hear what the other person has to say

In a communication exchange, when one person is trying to draw information from another or help someone see the big picture, open-ended questions require “accountability” in the answer.  In other words, because the identifying question doesn’t judge or stipulate an outcome, the receiver is able to provide input and information from his or her perspective.  Conflict is a perfect time to use this important communication tool.

  1. Identify the challenge by asking open-ended questions that begin with
    • What can we……?
    • How would you….?
    • Does the situation……?
    • Is there a better way to…….?
  2. Starting questions with “Why?” raises defenses possibly causing the conflict to raise from simple conflict to ego conflict.
  3. Asking open-ended questions motivates buy-in from the other person as they feel understood and able to express clarity to their views.


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