Want to Ask Better Questions? Stop Asking Why. Here’s Why…
In this week’s Asking for a Friend, I talk with Chad Littlefield, Co-Author of Ask Better Questions.
Chad and I met at an industry conference where we were both speaking and discovered many shared interests including creating psychological safety and encouraging deeper, more meaningful conversations and swimming. In fact, I think he’s the only “Asking for a Friend guest so far (besides David) who has seen me in a swimsuit and goggles;-)
Chad’s Approach to Asking Better Questions
From “Why” to “What and How”
To build deeper trust and connection, ask better questions. Chad recommends asking “What” and “How” instead of “Why.”
We’re hard-wired to ask “why” questions. After all, we’ve been practicing them since we were two years old. Starting with “what” and “why” can help you be more focused and deliberate as you seek to create an authentic conversation.
Asking “why” can put people on the defensive as they work to justify their actions or behavior. Asking “what” and “how” make it easier to show genuine curiosity.
For example, consider what responses you might get to these two questions:
“WHY did you finish the project so fast?”
“HOW were you able to finish the project so fast?”
Your “how question” comes across as genuinely curious, looking for best practices.
WHY did you do it that way?
WHAT was your approach?
Again, when you start your question with “what,” it feels feels curious and supportive.
And today, I leave you with two important WHAT and HOW questions to continue the conversation.
1. WHAT are you most curious about right now?
2. HOW do you use open-ended questions to create deeper trust and connection?