ABCs of Conflict Resolution – Questions?

Boston-trivia-questionsI asked a lot of questions when I was a journalist. Sometimes I had to draw people out or rein them in, but it was all done with questions. Driving all questions is curiosity.

I think most people have a strong sense of curiosity but sometimes in our culture it’s considered rude to question our peers. I think if you show curiosity about someone, it’s a compliment. You want to know more about them. Most people like talking about themselves, telling their stories.

During my courses at the Justice Institute, the instructors encouraged our feedback and questions. More than once, I made a mess of whatever I was trying to say and the teacher would pull up a chair, sit down and say, “I don’t understand but I want to. Tell me more.”

That attention shines a light on you and what you say gains importance. It’s feels good to know you’re conveying your ideas to someone who’s really listening.

There are two kinds of questions — open and closed. Closed questions are those eliciting a yes or no answer. Open questions ask for expansion, the details. Generally it’s always better to keep questions open, but there are times when a battery of open questions can sound like an inquisition.

You can also simply use the prompt my teacher used. “Tell me more.”

It’s always interesting to question people you think you know and learn something new, something you wouldn’t have known if you hadn’t asked.

About sandramcc59

Journalist turned Mediator/Conflict coach.
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