why do we ask open ended questions

Connect with people. Open-ended questions are one of the best ways to connect with someone through conversation. Unlike closed-ended questions, open-ended questions encourage deeper, more meaningful exchanges between two people. Open-ended questions indicate the questioner is interested in listening to the questionee's response. Ask these questions to find out more about a person. Many times, open-ended questions encourage people to talk about themselves. By asking follow up questions, you can continue discovering things about the person. These questions can demonstrate care, compassion, or concern for someone else. Open-ended questions require more involved, personal answers.


By asking "How are you feeling" or "Why are you crying? ", you invite a person to share their feelings with you. Asking "are you okay? " allows someone to answer with a simple "yes" or "no. "
Ask open-ended questions to generate conversation with quiet, nervous, or new people. It can help them feel at ease and encourage them to open up. Use open-ended questions to avoid pressuring, hinting at, or influencing a person's response. Most open-ended questions are neutral questions. The way that closed-ended questions are worded can cause a person to feel pressured to answer a certain way. For example, a leading question might be, "Don't you think the dress is cute? ", while a neutral open-ended question would be, "How do you like the dress? " Tags such as "isn't it? ", "don't you? " or "can't they? " can turn questions into leading questions, suggesting that the person you are talking to should agree with you.


Do not use them with open-ended questions. Be careful not to ask people questions that are too personal or require too much personal information. Gauge the questionee's comfort level when asking questions. If you ask a question that you feel is too personal, just move on to another, less personal question. The ability to ask open-ended questions is very important in many vocations, including education, counselling, mediation, sales, investigative work and journalism.


An open-ended question is designed to encourage a full, meaningful answer using the subject's own knowledge and/or feelings. It is the opposite of a closed-ended question, which encourages a short or single-word answer. Open-ended questions also tend to be more objective and less leading than closed-ended questions (see next page). Open-ended questions typically begin with words such as Why and How, or phrases such as Tell me about. Often they are not technically a question, but a statement which implicitly asks for a response.


How do you feel? Perhaps the most famous (or infamous) open-ended question is How does this make you feel? or some variation thereof. This has become a clich in both journalism and therapy. The reason it is so widely used is that it's so effective. In journalism, stories are all about people and how they are affected by events. Audiences want to experience the emotion. Even though modern audiences tend to cringe at this question, it's so useful that it continues to be a standard tool. In psychology, feelings and emotions are central to human behaviour. Therapists are naturally keen to ask questions about feelings. Next page:

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