How To Solve Problems Better Using Structured Questions



“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” — Wayne Dyer

You can rapidly solve personal problems using structured questions.

With structured questions, you can produce constructive change as efficiently as possible.

Many times we already have the answers inside of us, and we simply need to reveal the answers.

Other times, we need to figure out the answers, from a resourceful state of mind.

Ask Structured Questions to Get to a Resourceful Mind

Asking structured questions can help us get into a resourceful state of mind so we can come up with new answers, as well as reveal existing answers we already have inside.

Structured questions are also a great way to get unstuck or to help you see what you do not already see.

In the book, The Big Book of NLP Techniques, Shlomo Vaknin shows us how to solve problems in rapid fashion using structured questions to reveal answers and put us in a resourceful state.

Here is a simple step through …

Step 1. Pick a Personal Problem to Discuss

Pick a personal problem to discuss with someone you trust.

Step 2.  Ask Questions About the Problem Side

Vaknin suggests asking the following questions in the specified order:

  1. What do you believe is the problem?
  2. What is the cause?
  3. How have your efforts to solve the problem failed so far?
  4. If the problem were solved, what would be different (how would you know)?

Tailor the questions to fit the situation and person you are discussing with.

Step 3.  Flip to a Positive Frame

Vaknin suggests switching to a positive frame that moves into a solution state, by asking the following questions:

  1. What do you want to change about this problem?
  2. When will you stop it from limiting you?
  3. How many ways do you know that you have solved the problem?

Step 4.  Affirm the Change

Vakin recommends stating a positive affirmation of the change:

I know that you have already begun to change and see things in new ways.

Step 5. Test

Test the results.  Vaknin recommends the following:

“Observe changes in physiology, attitude, and behavior.  Note any changes that occur in the person’s life in the next day or weeks.”

Change doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out thing.  It can happen in an instant.  Sometimes the key is just making the connection or gaining a new perspective.

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  1. Hi JD :).

    Wow! This post is so darn practical and applicable. I’m going to start to apply this exact strategy when I reflect on my own challenges. I love the part about reframing the questions with a positive focus. I’ve learned about positive re-framing but never heard of it done where it’s utilized specifically with questions. Awesome!

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