transformative communication

When To Use Open-Ended vs. Closed-Ended Questions

How you ask a question is as important as what you ask about. Here’s a guide for when to use open vs. closed-ended questions.

Use Open-Ended Questions when…

  • you are interested in the answer
  • you are seeking options and alternatives
  • you are willing to be influenced by new information
  • you care about what the other person has to share

Examples:

What ideas do you have?

What’s your perspective on this issue?

How do you feel about this?

Which option do you recommend?

Use closed-ended questions when…

  • your goal is a multiple choice test with one right answer
  • you already know what you want to hear
  • you are trying to trap someone
  • you’ve already made up your mind
  • you want to evaluate or judge the answer
  • you are in a hurry
  • you really don’t care at all

Examples:

Don’t you believe we should call them first?

What part of “no margin, no mission” don’t you understand?

Italian or Mexican?

Really?

Did you mean to say that?

Generally, open-ended questions convey curiosity. Closed-ended questions convey something else. What’s your goal?

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2016

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CWC + Discussion Guide

Conflict Without Casualties: A Field Guide for Leading With Compassionate Accountability. This book is the foundation for our Leading Out of Drama program, a comprehensive guide for balancing compassion and accountability to build relationships that are safe, curious, and consistent.

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Giving Gifts vs. Being A Gift

Thanksgiving, leading into Black Friday, and on towards Christmas is the most commercialized and materialistic time period in my culture. Although I resisted the urge to take advantage of those super “too good to be true” deals on Thanksgiving night, I did spend some time shopping on Friday.

I also spent a lot of time with family this past week reflecting on what we are grateful for, and nurturing relationships that sustain us far beyond the material things. What I realized is that giving that perfect gift is great, but being a gift to my family, friends, and co-workers is so much more important. Do you want to be a gift to those around you this holiday season?

Do more of…

  • Affirming the positive qualities in others
  • Listening, asking curious questions, and showing interest in others
  • Making promises and keeping them
  • Sharing what’s really on your heart; joys, fears, aspirations, dreams
  • Being vulnerable and transparent
  • Being still, being present

Do less of…

  • Talking about yourself
  • Waiting for others to stop talking so you can talk more about yourself
  • Noticing what’s missing or what’s wrong
  • Being late, being rushed, being distracted
  • Worrying about everything being just right
  • Worrying about what others think

Here’s a great Ted Talk by Simon Sinek on how great leaders create environments where people feel safe.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2016

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If you are going to buy a gift, here’s one that helps you be a gift as well!

Conflict Without Casualties: A Field Guide for Leading With Compassionate Accountability. This book is the foundation for our Leading Out of Drama program, a comprehensive guide for balancing compassion and accountability to build relationships that are safe, curious, and consistent.

PodBeanButton Subscribe to Dr. Regier’s free podcast

 

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Hard Facts About Soft Skills

I remember when the concept of soft-skills meant just that: soft. They were seen as weak and squishy. Fifteen years ago I managed an employee assistance program, working with “troubled” or “troubling” employees on how to play better in the sandbox. As a clinical psychologist I appreciated the importance of emotional intelligence, communication and relationship skills. And my corporate clients seemed to appreciate it too since they would refer employees to us for help in these areas. With one caveat. They usually referred as a last resort, after all else failed or when the employee was already half way out the door. The message was pretty clear; soft-skills might be important, but they are a set thing, and people can’t really change. You either have them, or you don’t. (more…)

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Unconditional vs. Negotiable vs. Non-Negotiable

Some things in life are unconditional. Some are negotiable. And some are non-negotiable. Knowing which is which and honoring each one is guaranteed to make you a lot more effective, especially when dealing with conflict.

Unconditional things – THE WHO

There’s only one. Human worthiness. People are worthy, regardless. Their behaviors may be terrible, but they are OK as human beings. You may be thinking, “What about Hitler, or that serial killer, or those really evil people. They aren’t worthy!” Even in extreme cases like these, it’s possible to respond clearly to their behavior while leaving a person’s worthiness intact. In most daily cases, however, seeing people as human beings, worthy of dignity and respect, despite their behavior, will serve you and them much better.

Negotiable things – THE HOW

How we get where we are going is negotiable. How we close the gap between what we want and what we are experiencing can take many forms. There are many different ways to solve problems, a lot of options for getting from point A to point B. People are different in how they perceive the world and what’s important to them, yet they all seem to make it through their day. Don’t fall on your sword around the HOW. It will get you alienated and you’ll feel frustrated a lot. Many negotiations and conflict-resolution efforts fall apart because people treat the HOW as if is was a non-negotiable.

Non-Negotiable things – THE WHY

Why are you here on this earth? Why do you get up every day? What is so important in your life that if you didn’t honor it, you’d lose your soul? What are the core principles and values that give you purpose?

Non-negotiables aren’t about what other people should or shouldn’t do. They are about how you will chose to live your life.

The minute you expect others to live according to your non-negotiables, you encroach on the other two categories listed above.

Are you passionate about spreading your values? Do you think the world would be a better place if more people adhered to your non-negotiables? Nothing wrong with that. Just know that unless you honor the WHO and the HOW principles along the way, it’s going to be very rough travels and could get violent.

Put it all together and the compassionate accountability mantra leading yourself and others out of drama sounds like this.

I’m OK, You’re OK. There may be multiple ways to solve this problem and I’m open to exploring them with you. Here’s what’s important to me. What’s important to you?

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2016

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CWC + Discussion GuideGet our latest book Conflict Without Casualties: A Field Guide for Leading With Compassionate Accountability. This book is the foundation for our Leading Out of Drama program, a comprehensive system for building cultures of compassionate accountability.

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Four Uncomfortable Truths About Feelings

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Leading self and others out of drama with compassionate accountability starts and ends with emotional responsibility.

Here are four truths about feelings that may challenge you, and are guaranteed to increase your integrity and authenticity if you apply them. (more…)

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The Power Of Great Questions: Interview With Marshall Goldsmith

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  • What’s the difference between active and passive questions?
  • What are the Six Engaging Questions to start every day?
  • What are the top three questions we should ask ourselves when facing leadership challenges?
  • What are the most important things to focus on each day?
In 20 minutes, Marshall gives tremendous value to listeners, offers several free resources and an opportunity to be part of his “Six Questions Study.”

Click here to listen to the full interviewPodBeanButton

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