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Good questions are open-ended

  • A person can answer “yes” or “no” without engaging his or her brain. On the other hand, an open-ended question compels people to think about the facts of a text, or the situation
  • We utilize this principle in everyday life. Over dinner, if you say to your kids, “How was school today?” they might respond “Fine.” And you’re done. But if you say to them, “Tell me something interesting that happened today at school,” they have to focus on a specific incident, and you can get them talking. The same thing applies in group discussions

Good questions are creative

  • Ask unusual questions to get the group to think creatively
  • Juxtapose different problems or situations and engage the group in “what if…” scenarios
  • The idea process will help trigger new thinking when old problems are presented

Good Questions Create a Conversation

    • They create those conversations without putting anyone in the spot
    • You don’t want our group members to feel like they are in school, taking a test
    • You also don’t want a scenario where you are the learned teacher asking all the questions, and the group members are under pressure to know the answers you expect from them 
  • In contrast, some of the best discussion questions solicit input from everyone present. The best example of this is to ask people what they think. There is no wrong answer to the question, “What do you think?”

Good questions focus on one thing

  • Rather than asking a multi-layered question, it’s best to ask just one simpl question and wait for responses before asking the next thing
  • Well-focused questions also serve as a tool to keep bringing the group back around to the subject at hand
  • Groups are notorious for getting off the subject, and clearly worded, pin-pointed questions help a group leader avoid this problem

Good questions involve emotions

  • Group work is about engaging people and with grief, getting people out of their heads and into their hearts is important
  • “What happens inside you when you hear this?”
  • “How did that make you feel?”
  • “Tell me about your reaction when she said that.”

Good questions are sometimes answers to other questions

  • When direct questions come to the leader, you can deflect them to the group
  • “Anyone else want to field that question?”
  • “Jim, how would you answer Suzie’s question?”