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Chapter 8. Types of Questions to Ask > 1. Open-Ended Questions

1. Open-Ended Questions

An open-ended question is one that cannot be answered with a single word or phrase such as “yes” or “no.” Open-ended questions are quite powerful because they stimulate thinking, encourage greater discussion, and discourage team members from prematurely taking definitive positions on issues not yet thoroughly discussed. They typically begin with words such as “how,” “what” and “why.” Here are a few examples of open-ended questions.

  • How do the rest of you feel about this?

  • How will this solution impact you?

  • How do you want to evaluate this idea?

  • What are your observations of these three potential causes?

  • What can be done to eliminate this type of mistake?

  • What happens if we don’t solve the problem?

  • Why are waste and spoilage up even after our new equipment purchase?

  • Why are we having problems with our billing system?

  • Why did you say “step 3” is so crucial to the process?


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