Six False Questions

False Question, used to tell another person what to do: "Why don't you...?" "What's wrong with...?" Honest Question: "I wonder what you've learned about...?" The honest question is more inviting to continued conversation and opportunity to listen.

False Question, used to induce guilty feelings: "Whatever made you...?" "Why ever would you...?" Honest Statement: "I didn't like the way you...." The honest statement invites the other person also to know and speak true feelings, and enables listening.

False Question, used to shade the truth: "What did you mean by that when a minute ago you said the opposite?" "Don't you really mean...?" Honest Statement, open to new truth: "I want to understand how you see this. Please try me again. I'm listening."

False Question, used to pose a polarizing choice: "Are you going to stay here and be lazy or get up like a man and mow the lawn?" Honest Statement: "When I see you mowing the lawn, I think, What a man! (Right now I call it laziness not to mow.)"

False Question, used to invite confidences for gossip or manipulation: "So what do you think of the new manager? Didn't you want that position?" Honest Statement: "I can imagine you might be feeling disappointed now about losing that promotion."

False Question, used to remind and bind: "What about that trip to Vegas you said you we would take?" Honest Statement: "I still want that trip to Vegas we talked about." Used with a gentle, unsuperior tone of voice, the statement invites conversation.

After questioning the questions and uncovering their real motives and expectations, then re-do each question starting with "I." Listen to hear which language better invites to continued conversation and listening. Questions can be listening stoppers.

Copyright 2014 Wilma Zalabak