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Episode 50: What’s Your Question-Asking Style?

podcast Dec 06, 2022

Why is it that someone’s well intentioned question might land the wrong way? 

If you are going to ask great questions – you’ve got to understand that it’s more than just asking open-ended questions. It’s helpful to know how others will hear and experience your questions. Let’s explore four different styles based on Myers Briggs Personality preferences.

Strategic Thinker

Strategic Thinkers seek to understand a thing by turning it upside, inside-out and over and over again. They ask more questions that help them see the big picture and strategy from all the angles. However, in pursuit of satisfying curiosity and wanting to understand, these questions can sound like debating and trigger a defensive response unintentionally. 

Pro-tip – notice body language. If someone’s posture changes, if their tone gets more tense, if their face gets tight or their responses more terse, then shift your question asking style.

Bridge Builder

Bridge builders look to ask questions that help find common ground. It’s less about specific detailed content and more on making connections by asking questions. However, these questions can sometimes feel disconnected. Less than relevant. And lingering too long feels like derailing the conversation.

Pro-tip – notice confusion or frustration or tuning out. Switch to summarizing or paraphrasing to capture the conversation.

Problem Solvers

Problem solvers are able to see all the parts and details and that’s where they camp out when asking questions. They see everything through the lens of problems to be solved. Sometimes people aren’t ready for the next step. 

Pro tip - notice if the next step is a no-brainer but other people in the room aren’t getting on board; then pause and back up by asking different kinds of questions. 

Compassionate Connector

Compassionate Connectors will ask questions that help them step into other people’s shoes and understand their situation so they can gather details and understand what people need and what action can be taken. 

Pro-tip – notice when people respond with a “but wait” tone or answer your very direct and specific questions with a “left field” sort of answer. That’s an indicator that you and that other person are probably looking through a different lens of curiosity and you can ask different questions. 

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