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What makes a powerful question?

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 27 October 2015



What makes a powerful question?
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 184
Posted DateTuesday 27 October 2015 09:37 GMT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen

In my work on Conversational Leadership I am researching and thinking about conversation and a big part of that work is about the power of questions to trigger meaningful conversations.

So the question I have been asking myself is "What makes a powerful question?" And Wes Saade helped me realise that at a high level there is a very simple answer.

There are everyday questions and then there are powerful questions. What is the purpose of a question? Well to solicit an answer of course. If I ask "What time is it?" Someone might tell me "ten past two". I have asked my question and received an answer. But are questions that solicit simple informational answers powerful questions? Clearly not.

So what is different about a powerful question?

A powerful question is one that compels others to think.

There is clearly more to it as Wes explains in his article How to ask powerful questions but this is the key point.

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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