Questions and their purpose

Each communicative act should have a purpose. In interviews, in meetings or in everyday conversation, what is the purpose of the questions you ask?

Here are some questions and their corresponding purposes:

1. Are you saying…?
Identifies someone’s language patterns.

2. Are you willing to…?
Tests someone’s limits.

3. Can you give me…?
Encourages examples and specifics.

4. Can you remember…?
Taps into someone’s memory.

5. Did you ask…?
Questions someone’s questions.

6. Have you considered…?
Non-threatening proposal of options.

7. Have you given any thought to…?
Suggestive, yet doesn’t sound like advice.

8. Have you thought about…?
Forces someone to think!

9. How are you constantly…?
Promotes consistency of action.

10. How are you creating…?
Proves that someone has a choice.

11. How can you become…?
Future oriented, motivational.

12. How can you make…?
Enlists someone’s creativity.

13. How could you have…?
Focused on past performance improvement.

There are 63 questions and why they work here.

By Richard Brisebois

I help companies develop their leaders. I help managers develop themselves and their teams.
Richard Brisebois is a leadership development professional who has worked with 7,000+ managers, leaders, and business owners in 40+ countries, from Fortune50 executives to SME business owners and tribal leaders. He specializes in designing and facilitating leadership development programs as well in team coaching.