During meetings, the leaders job is to draw out teammates, clarify confusion and direct the conversation without dominating it. Asking good questions will help you reach those goals. Follow these guidelines:
- Be brief. Ask a to-the-point question, and then wait silently for a response. Avoid long introductions and detailed explanations.
- Make it a real question and not a statement hidden in question form. Those kinds of questions often contain the recommended answer: “Don’t you think that we should?”
- Use clear language. You want all attendees to easily understand the question, so avoid arcane technical terms, esoteric references and slang that only certain groups use.
- Don’t point fingers. Your questions should draw out information that helps the team evaluate ideas and choose strategies. So you should never ask a question to try to prove someone wrong. Stop yourself if you even think about asking something like “Didn’t we discuss and reject that idea last month?”
- Adapted from Meeting Excellence, Glenn Parker and Robert Hoffman, John Wiley and
Sons Inc., http://www.wiley.com.