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.
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.
Photo: © Ruslan Kudrin – Fotolia.com