Questioning Skills for Dummies

OK, I know I have banged on about Questioning Skills before, and it’s not exactly rocket science.  But I just can’t help myself.  I was having a creative video-making morning with an old training comrade, Mike Ponting, who runs Making the Link training.  We created no less than 8 training videos that morning, all of them unscripted and from the hip.  A great personal challenge, and from all one reads about how L&D managers are becoming increasingly like Custodians of training content rather than Creators of it, something trainers like Mike and I need to do more.

Anyway, as a moment of light relief I found myself drawn to the inevitable flipchart and trying out one of my training course brain teasers on Mike and his mate Phil (who happens to run a Polar Expedition company and is currently planning another trip to the North Pole, just in case you’re interested). I’m not going to say any more about questioning in this Post, as I think I make the point fairly forcibly in the video.

Suffice to say that if there is ONE skill that I find lets people down more than anything as I work on business skills with people of all ranks around the world, it is their inability to ask an open question.  Even when you have done a training session on it, practiced it and made them absolutely aware of it, put them in front of another person for 5 minutes and watch how they struggle to find that simple phrase begining with Who, What, Why, When, Where or How.  It never ceases to amaze me.

Neither of these people is me. I know which one I think will get the answer.

So, forget everything you have just read ( impossible now that I have told you to), watch the video and do the exercise as they do it, and see how you perform.  Maybe listen to the brief then pause the video while you write down your list of questions.

Try it out on someone else:  might I suggest a “grown up” and then also try it on an 8 year old.  I will eat my hat if the 8 year old doesn’t do best.

Good luck!

Photo:  © Ruslan Kudrin –

About Michael Brown Training

I'm a business skills trainer, facilitator and coach. I've been helping people to learn for 16 years, working all around the world on topics such as Negotiation, Conflict Handling, Sales, Leadership, Consulting and Personal Effectiveness. I'm an ENFP, constantly looking for new and inspiring things to do. I love my job for its variety and the stimulation I get from it, and spend most of my time seeing how far we can go with the subjects we work on in the training room. I've recently started a new venture in making video on how NOT to do things, which you can find at
This entry was posted in Communication, Life Skills, Personal Development and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Questioning Skills for Dummies

  1. WL says:

    My 10 year old and 12 year old together did it in 4 and my wife in 10


  2. WL says:

    Dear Micky
    Did a session today on coaching for my GP trainer group. I did a demo and caught myself asking 2 closed questions (I didn.t shoot myself). Wish I’d looked at your video first.


What do you think? Please leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s