How to Use Open and Closed Ended Questions

Save

One of the most innovative communication systems to be developed in the last 40 years still remains effective today. While originally developed for salespeople, the information is easily transferable to our personal lives. There is a way to obtain general information and then identify the pertinent comments made. This is accomplished by alternating “open-ended” and “closed-ended” questions. Open-ended questions ask for general information; closed-ended questions specify information. As you study this system you will see the value in encouraging people to share general information so that you can identify the specific information that should be discussed.

  • Start with an innocuous topic. This might be sports, weather or general health. Ask an open ended question such as "How have you been feeling?" This response allows the person to answer with as much information as he wishes to share. If he answers with "I've been feeling great," then ask a close ended question.

  • Repeat the answer to the person for verification: "Are you saying you are feeling well?" This is a closed ended question because it only allows for a "yes" or "no" answer.

  • Follow-up the verification question with a closed ended question. "Have you considered a spa membership to continue feeling well?" Again, this is a closed ended question because it only allows for a "yes" or "no" answer.

  • Listen to her answer. If she says she hasn't thought about a spa membership let her talk, then verify her reason such as "Are you saying you cannot afford the membership fee?"

  • Talk to friends and family in this manner on a very limited basis. Use this method to clarify and help minimize time spent on perfunctory issues. An example might be "Have you thought about where you would like to go to eat?" This is open-ended. Then, "Do I understand that a pizza place sounds good?" This is closed-ended. This is useful with family or a group of friends when someone needs to "get things moving."

  • Speak more pointedly if you are talking to a potential client. "Have you thought about the possible consequences if you do not exercise?" If the response is "No" ask "Why?" which is an open ended question designed to gather information so concerns might be addressed.

  • Continue gathering information and specifying it until you are able to convince the person to buy your product or you see there is no need or willingness to buy.

  • Understand that the technique of alternating open and closed ended questions is a non-threatening way of communicating,

  • Understand that the technique of alternating open and closed ended questions is a non-threatening way of communicating,

Tips & Warnings

  • If the potential client is getting nervous, stop.
  • Photo Credit Luis Rodriguez
Promoted By Zergnet

Comments

You May Also Like

Related Searches

Check It Out

Are You Really Getting A Deal From Discount Stores?

M
Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!