“A major stimulant to creative thinking is focused questions. There is something about a well-worded question that often penetrates to the heart of the matter and triggers new ideas and insights.” — Brian Tracy
How can you ask better questions to improve your effectiveness?
Asking Outcome Questions Puts You in a More Resourceful State
By asking “outcome questions” you can change direction toward the outcome and away from the solution.
I actually use this technique effectively at work, but I call them “solution-focused questions.” Basically, I focus on how to move forward and getting clarity on where we want to go. This helps keep the team in a resourceful state rather than get bogged down in problems and excuses.
In Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement, Tony Robbins writes about asking better questions using “outcome frames” and “outcome questions.”
Example Outcome Questions
“Outcome” questions start with the outcome or the results that you want to achieve. Robbins provides examples of “outcome questions”:
- “What do I want?”
- “What is the objective?”
- “What am I here for?”
- “What do I want for you?”
- “What do I want for me?”
Reframe questions away from the problem and towards the solution.
Via Unlimited Power:
“There are other ways to direct communication by asking the right questions. One is the ‘outcome frame.’
If you ask someone what’s bothering them or what’s wrong, you’ll get a long dissertation on just that.
If you ask, ‘What do you want?’ or ‘How do you want to change things?’ you’ve redirected your conversation from the problem to the solution.”
Change from the problem to the outcome using “outcome questions.”
Via Unlimited Power:
“In any situation, no matter how dismal, there’s a desirable outcome to be achieved.
Your goal should be to change direction toward that outcome and away from the problem.
Do this by asking the right questions. There are any number of them. In NLP, they’re referred to as ‘outcome questions.'”
Key Take Aways
Here are my key take aways:
- Move towards solutions – Move away from the problem and towards the solution using “outcome frames” and “outcome questions.”
- Ask outcome questions – Use outcome questions to move forward and avoid getting stuck in analysis paralysis.
- Focus on the desired outcome – No matter how bad the situation is, there’s always a desired outcome. Focus on that.
Questions are the key to insight.
Ask the right questions and you empower yourself and others with skill.
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Photo by bryanrmason.