Hope you are having a great Easter Week! I’m praying for your Sunday, that God will draw people to Himself and that many would come to faith in Him!
This morning I’d like us to talk about questions. Of course, not all questions are good questions. Some are irritating. Others seem meaningless. And sometimes they seem endless—just ask a mother of young children. Researchers suggest they field an average of 288 questions a day! However, the older I get, the more I marvel at the art of asking a good question.
When did we replace “questions” with “telling?” Have we “grown up” so much that we think we know it all and forgot the importance asking? How often are we quick to respond without taking time to probe and listen? (I’m saying that because I’m guilty it.)
Good leaders never stop asking. The CEO of Google® once said, “We run this company on questions, not answers.” The question then, (no pun intended) seems to be how to ask good questions.
“Jesus often responded to others with a question, not an answer!”
You’ll know it’s a good question when…
- It gives us further insight. There seems to always be another way to look at a situation. Good questions introduce a new point of view. A great question can even bring on an “Ah ha!” moment.
- It builds rapport. Questions should build bridges, never resistance. A good question draws people into a deeper conversation. It communicates interest and value. It tells others you care.
- It resolves misunderstandings. I can’t tell you how often I’ve assumed something (usually the worst), when a simple question could have solved the problem. Good questions do that.
- It doesn’t condescend. Good questions are friendly, not rude. They come along side to help and invite a response without immediate judgement.
- It gives direction. Good questions can guide a conversation. It can bring things back on track and into focus. Michael Marquardt said, “Questions wake people up. They prompt new ideas, show people new places, and new ways of doing things.”
So what are some examples of a good question? Here are two I learned years ago during coaching. I used it with the staff at the church and now I’ve been using them in my phone calls with our pastors.
- What is one victory you’ve had since we’ve last talked?
- What is one challenge that you are facing right now?
These questions are open ended and I ask them because I really care and want to listen. I desire to know how to pray for and encourage our pastors.
The best prevention of misinformation and misunderstanding is a good question. Who do you need to ask a question from?
BEFORE YOU GO…
Remember Colombo on TV who always had one more question? Here’s a challenge! I call it the “Colombo” challenge. Before you draw a conclusion and “tell” someone, ask one more question!
I’d love to hear from you! What are some questions that you have found helpful?
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3 Comments Add yours
Good article Super Randy! Appreciate the reminder about questions. A couple questions that have helped me along the way are…
1. What do you think?
2. How can I help you?
3. Would you please say that again, maybe in a different way? I don’t feel like I understood you.
Have a great Easter,
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I’ve observed that just asking questions provides powerful validation to someone. I’ve also noticed how the sense of value they experience is applied back to the relationship with the listener.
Thanks, Randy, for this good reminder. It’s easy to allow life & ministry to fill up my mind. It takes a deliberate effort to make empty space for simply listening. Listening is not only honoring, it’s also very, very, wise.
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