Asking good questions
A basic facilitation skill
Different kinds of questions you can ask as a facilitator
Asking good questions is an art. The right question at the right time can help a process move forward.
Below you will find examples of useful questions you can ask as a facilitator or mediator.
You will find more on questions as a facilitation skill on the LiFT website: Elements of Transformative Dialogue
Questions to get somebody to elaborate
Can you say more about …? Can you elaborate?
For example, a person says that she is angry. As a participant or facilitator, you could respond: “you say that you are angry. Can you say more? Could you elaborate?”
Could you explain what you mean when you say…?
For example, a person says of a particular group: they just don’t care! You could ask: When you say that they don’t care, what do you mean? Can you explain?
Can you give an example?
In the same situation as the one above you could ask: could you give an example of their lack of concern? Or: how have you experienced their lack of caring?
Questions for exploring an issue
Exploring thoughts and thinking
- Can you tell us more about this, what led you to this conclusion?
- What do you mean when you say…?
- Why do you think you have this opinion on…
- Why do you think you feel this way about this issue?
- Where did you get your information about this issue?
- Where did you get this idea? Where did you learn about this?
- Do you have any personal experience with this issue? How has that experience affected how you see it?
- What did you feel when …?
- What are you feeling now when you relate this?
Exploring values and beliefs
- Why is this important to you?
- What inspires you?
Questions that broaden perspectives
- Do we (you) have a complete view of the situation?
- Could there be other ways of interpreting events or viewing the situation?
- Which other ways of interpreting this problem exist or could be “out there”?
- Who holds these views? What are their stories? Can they be included or invited to share their stories?
- Where do we (you) notice opposition to our stance or our actions? How is this opposition expressed?
- Do we (you) regard your way of seeing and interpreting the situation as more correct, more legitimate or more moral?
- How do you think others view your view of the situation?
- How do you think they feel and think?
Source: Dialogues AB (svb)