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Volunteer Training: Asking Good Questions

As you lead volunteers -- and especially in meeting times -- use these types of questions from Meetings: Do's, Don'ts and Donuts by Sharon Lippincott...

Jesus was the master at asking great questions. He could send a zinger that would stop any discussion or ask a thoughtful question that would open up people to greater faith.

  • Factual Questions -- Use these questions for basic information gathering (what, where, when, why, who, how, and how much).
  • Exploratory -- Broaden the discussion with questions such as "How would that help?" "How would you go about doing that?" or "What other things should be considered?"
  • Justification -- To challenge old ideas and to generate new ones, ask in a nonconfrontational tone, "What makes you say that?" "Where did you hear that?" "Have you actually tried that?"
  • Leading -- When you want to introduce a thought of your own, ask, "Would this be a possible solution?" or "Have you tried this?"
  • Hypothetical -- To test assumptions, ask, "What would happen if we did it this way?" or "If I do it this other way, will it still work?"
  • Alternative -- When you realize that it's time for the group to make a decision or come to an agreement, ask, "Which of these plans do you think is best?" or "Would you rather get together on Monday or Tuesday?"
  • Consensual -- To help develop common agreement or to take action, ask, "Do we all agree that this is what we want to do?" "Is there anything preventing us from getting started now?"

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