He who asks, leads!

Do you also have a colleague, employee or family member who wouldn’t let you think straight due to his many questions?

Question techniques can be used as an important element of targeted and partner-oriented communication. Let us take a closer look at how we can consciously use this in our discussions.

There are three main categories:

  1. The question about the purpose

e.g. "Why do I need communication in leadership?"

  1. The question of preference

e.g. "What are you particularly interested in?"

  1. The question of meaning

e.g. "What is the advantage of improved communication for me?"

Each pursues a different goal, as does the large number of different types of questions. Consider in which general situation and at what point in the conversation you could apply the different question types!

Examples of Question Types
Rhetorical QuestionDecision question or alternative questionControversial Question
Leading QuestionQuestion of JustificationControl/Confirmation Question, Reflective Question
Enquiry or Counter-questionQuestion of ConcretizationMotivational Question
Knowledge QuestionsCircular Question or Circular QuestionsSituational Question
Hypothetical QuestionFollowers questionProblematic Issue
Question of SolutionQuestion of Information or InterestsQuestion 0f Provocation
Loaded QuestionMagic QuestionInsinuation Question
Returned QuestionRelated Question  Challenging Question 
Scaling or scale QuestionQuestion of ConscienceQuestion of Emotion
Future QuestionQuestion of BehaviorBiographical Question
Multiple Questions Comparative QuestionModel Question
Introductory QuestionParadoxical QuestionCommand Questions

So, did you let your imagination play a little? Do you think that you can influence the dynamics of conversation by consciously using the questioning technique?

All these types of questions can be applied in both open and closed form.

The closed questions is aiming for precision. The answer options are given and limited, e.g. `Yes or No, black or white, up or down´. The flow of conversations is slowed down by the short answers, which can be helpful, for example, when time is limited.

With open questions, however, we encourage the interlocutor to present himself, the flow of conversations is partner-oriented.

Open questions are also referred to as 5W & H-questions:

  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Who?
  • Why?
  • How?

Of course, many more words can be added to the list.

When applied to a closed decision question, for example, this could look like this

  • `Is it okay if we postpone the team meetings until Thursday?´

The open question, however, could be

  • `How should we organize our team meetings?´.

See the difference? Try it out for yourself.


To make questions even more concrete and to get more precise answers from the other person, it is helpful to combine the 5W & H-words with further words, e.g..:

  • How many?
  • How often?
  • How far?
  • How frequently?

We thus show interest and specify our concerns and usually achieve more precise answers from our counterparts.

The use of `why 'is very critical, as it can lead to a justifying attitude of the opposite. It’s better to exchange it for `what about, how exactly, how do you know that ... 'etc.

With a little conscious application you, as the questioner, have it in your hand to influence the direction of the conversation.

I wish you fun and success with the conscious application in your everyday life!




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Lightwings Preussing

Lightwings Preussing

Lightwings Preussing
Deuberrainweg 5, 8807 Freienbach/CH
Tel.: +41 445852007