In my previous post, I gave you the first three of seven types of questions to ask in group. Here are the final four.
4. Summarizing These questions draw the rest of the group into discussion after a member answers a question or expresses an opinion. Summarizing questions can also help a group go deeper by consolidating the ideas they've been discussing.
Example: Do you see some common threads between what you've said and what Ellen was saying?
5. Applying These questions help the group make a connection between the material you're discussing and their lives. Because growth is driven by the application of information and not information alone, applying questions are crucial in encouraging your group members to make the most of what they're learning and discovering.
Example: Based on what we've talked about, what are some things you can do to resolve your conflict with your brother?
6. Reversing Reversing questions pose a question back to the person who originally asked it. You don't want to overuse reversing questions because they may become irritating or seem condescending. But used correctly and sparingly, reversing questions can help a group member think through a question rather than just rely on your answer. The more people think through a problem and come to their own conclusions, the more they own those conclusions. And people are more likely to apply a conclusion they own than those they've been told.
Example: That's a great question. I don't have a quick answer. What are your thoughts?
7. Relaying Use relaying questions to turn a question you've been asked over to the group or to a specific group member. Relaying questions help a group to work through an issue rather than rely on you to provide answers. Again, they help build ownership among the group members. Relaying questions can also be used (carefully) to draw specific group members into the discussion.
Example: That's a great question. I don't know. What do you guys think?
Asking great questions is one of the most useful skills you can add to your leadership toolbox. It's both strategically smart and relationally powerful. Most of us don't do it well naturally, but it's like a muscle: if you commit to exercising your question asking skills on a regular basis, it will get stronger.