Open-ended questions are a great asset to bring to a meeting or discussion with someone you are starting to get to know because it allows you to get the most information out of them. Open-ended questions require people to think about their response and answer the question in depth, giving you a great amount of information about that person. Instead of asking someone, “Do you like your current position?,” try asking in a different way, “Tell me what you like about your current position.” This changes the answer you receive from “yes” or “no” to a detailed response with more information.
You bring value to meetings, discussions, and presentations by offering insightful information about the topic. You can also enhance your perceived value by asking what’s called high-value questions. Most, if not all, high-value questions are open-ended questions. They enhance your conversation, inspire people to provide high-value answers, increase people perception of you as the subject matter expert and give people the impression you value their input. When you get good at asking high value, open-ended questions, people will literally tell you how to sell them. Everyone has heard the saying, “A man or woman of few words.” It doesn’t simply imply they don’t talk much, it means they don’t talk much, but when they do, people listen. If you hear responses like, “Give me a minute to think about that,” or, “I’ve never thought about it like that,” or even, “No one’s ever asked me that question,” you know you’re asking high-value questions.
It’s amazing how much you can learn from a person just by asking the right type of questions. Make a list of open-ended, high-value questions that you think are really great and have them in the back of your mind when you are meeting with someone of importance. You will see that the value of the information you get will be much greater than usual.