The Art of Conversation – Open ?
In this session of the Art of Conversation, we shared about and practiced asking open questions.
A question mark is a shape half-opened: there are at times open questions and at times closed (also known as leading questions).
Open questions are typically “W” questions (Who, What, Where, When and How) while closed questions lead to “Yes” or “No”, and often a full stop followed by heavy awkward silence.
The use of open questions is key to developing and growing a conversation. Imagine a budding seedling, open questions give it the space to grow. If you ever feel like the conversation is running short and dry, try asking open questions. For example, if you just met someone new and ran dry on the topic of weather, ask how is the person’s day. If nothing much is shared about the uneventful day, ask What does the person do on a typical weekend. If nothing much is done over the weekend, ask What the person likes to do, so on and so forth.
Of course, it is impossible for a two-way conversation to be full of open questions only. There will inevitably the taking of positions, yes or no, for example, in the sharing of opinions and preferences, or in the confirmation of facts and rhetoric. An appropriate combination of open and closed questions is the recipe to a fruitful conversation. It is, after all, what the ? is about.