Do You Know The Right Answer?

How often do you ask a question to which you don’t know the answer?

“Never!” is apparently the answer trial lawyers would give. Makes sense – they dont want a witness embarrassing them on the stand with something unexpected.

But the rule seems to spread beyond the courtroom.

At the Clean Business Exchange on Friday, my friend and colleague James Lawley told the story of some consultancy work he had been doing with teachers in a particular school.

Studying transcripts of their interactions with children, he noticed that they hardly ever asked a question to which they didn’t already know the “right” answer. And when a child gave the “right” answer, there was never a follow-up question such as: “Is there anything else about that?”

I wonder, how would that approach influence the children’s thinking processes?

What kind of children would those kids grow up to be?

And what difference could better questions make in your immediate environment?

1 Comment

  • Andy

    14/11/2011

    Good point! I bet I’m not alone in this other area it shows up. When I ask a question in a training session such as “what did you notice?” or “what was your experience?”, people often start looking at me and trying to guess what the ‘right’ answer is.

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