Active listening guide

Asking open-ended questions is a great way to encourage conversation and gain deeper insights into others’ thoughts and feelings. Here are some easy ways to frame open-ended questions:

1. Start with ‘What’, ‘How’, ‘Why’, ‘Where’, ‘When’, or ‘Who’: These words naturally lead to more detailed responses.

• “What do you think about the new project?”

• “How do you usually approach these situations?”

• “Why do you think that happened?”

• “Where would you like to go for our next team outing?”

• “When did you start feeling this way?”

• “Who do you look up to in your field?”

2. Avoid Yes/No Questions: Reframe questions so that they can’t be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

• Instead of “Did you like the movie?”, ask “What did you think about the movie?”

3. Ask for Opinions or Feelings: People generally like to share their perspectives and feelings.

• “What’s your opinion on…?”

• “How do you feel about…?”

4. Encourage Storytelling: Ask questions that prompt people to share experiences or stories.

• “Can you tell me about a time when you felt most challenged at work?”

5. Ask for Explanations or Reasons: This encourages deeper thinking and detailed responses.

• “Can you explain how that works?”

• “What led you to that conclusion?”

6. Follow-Up Questions: Based on their responses, ask additional questions to delve deeper.

• “You mentioned XYZ, can you tell me more about that?”

By asking open-ended questions in these ways, you encourage a more engaging and meaningful conversation.

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