Whether we are mentoring, coaching, or facilitating a small group discussion, we use questions to draw the BEST out of people. Questions come in many shapes and sizes, each designed for a particular outcome and used with a specific agenda.
There are some people who seem to ask just the right questions. If you haven’t yet met that kind of person, then perhaps you can become that person. In truth, this effect is a combination of listening skills and an toolbox of strategic questions. We’ll get to the listening skills in a later post, but for now, here are three three types of strategic questions that we can use in both individual and group settings to draw the best out of people.
Must-select questions are very powerful, particularly at the beginning of a conversation, or with a person who is being guarded, as it forces a person to both think and respond, while presenting itself under the guise of simplicity. An example might be:
- “On a scale of one to ten, how courageous do you think you are?”
Must-select questions like this are neither classically ‘open’ nor ‘closed’ (see below), but rather provide options within boundaries, priming the person for a follow-up question based on the information they have already given you. Read More…
A common icebreaker is the question: “If you were shipwrecked on an island, what three things would you take with you?” Whether you believe in God or not, the way you answer this question sheds light on what you think is most important in life. Shipwrecks, whether by circumstance or choice prompt us to think differently, just as Jesus demonstrated in the midst of a storm. Because God uses shipwrecks to clarify what matters most in life.
How much time, energy and effort do we spend trying to convince the world that we have it all together? We are all exposed to the reality of pain in a broken world, it can tear us apart, but what we do with that pain demonstrates who we believe God to be. Two of the most powerful words in the Bible are the from its shortest verse, “Jesus wept,” because when we weep, we can be reminded that Jesus wept too. In his tears, Jesus did not demonstrate a weakness of his humanity, but the strength of God’s character.
Bring your pain to Jesus, that he might turn something broken into something beautiful.
People sometimes joke with me saying that they can always tell when I’m going to preach because there is a stool on the platform. Perhaps two stools, maybe even three. Let’s just say that the humble stool has become a bit of a calling card for me.
So why the stool? Do I get so tired after such expressive hand gestures that I need to sit down and recover? Perhaps. But it’s about so much more than that. The stool is a communications tool, one that is well worth understanding and embracing.
Most people would be aware that body language is the most significant factor in effective communication with some studies suggesting that its contribution to a message is up to 85%. Body language includes a number of factors, most particularly eye contact, gestures, mouth expression, and position.
Position is where the stool comes in. Position sends a message to your audience about who has the power, and how much power that person has. Position, while often interpreted subconsciously, involves a number of factors including the environment, props and posture, which all contribute to a statement of power that must be taken into consideration if your public speaking is to be effective as both authoritative and relatable.
Listen for the power dynamics at play as we break down the things worth considering as a communicator: Read More…
When you look at the facts, Jesus’ baptism is a strange story. The only person who doesn’t need to participate in a baptism of repentance, insists that he needs to. Why? Because God was doing something new in the world, momentum was building, the Kingdom of God was near, and Jesus wanted in on the action. If we are serious about imitating Jesus, we need to step in so that God can step us up, even if it means risking the death lane.
Where has the Holy Spirit been silent for too long?