Questioning Techniques

 

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Instead of merely telling your audience information, think about turning it into a two-way street. It allows your audience to become more involved in the process of learning new information and automatically makes it interactive. There are many different types of questions that you could use depending on what type of information you wish to get back from them.

The two most commonly used ‘types’ of questions are open and closed. I’ll talk a bit more about them now.

Closed questions require a short, simple answer in response, such as yes/no, true/false, or an uncontroversial fact such as “what is your name?” They are good for gauging knowledge levels and confirming understanding – “do you know what a cell is?” “Do all cells have a nucleus?” 

Open questions can give longer answers and can involve the answerer’s knowledge, feelings or opinions. They can help you find out more information about the audience’s understanding of a topic, e.g. “what sorts of things do you know about cells?” Open questions often start with ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘how’.

It is, of course, crucially important to listen to the answers to the questions you ask; just because you assume an answer is obvious or easy does not ensure your audience will know it. 

If you get a wrong answer do not be discouraging – you can always reward their effort even if the information is incorrect. You could say “that’s a good guess”, “I can see why you might think that”, or “not quite, but you’re on the right track” before following up with another question to help guide them to the right answer. 

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