How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
An open question can be defined thus:
An open question is likely to receive a long answer.
Although any question can receive a long answer, open questions deliberately seek longer answers, and are the opposite of closed questions.
Open questions have the following characteristics:
This makes open questions useful in the following situations:
Open questions begin with such as: what, why, how, describe.
Using open questions can be scary, as they seem to hand the baton of control over to the other person. However, well-placed questions do leave you in control as you steer their interest and engage them where you want them.
When opening conversations, a good balance is around three closed questions to one open question. The closed questions start the conversation and summarize progress, whilst the open question gets the other person thinking and continuing to give you useful information about them.
A neat trick is to get them to ask you open questions. This then gives you the floor to talk about what you want. The way to achieve this is to intrigue them with an incomplete story or benefit.