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The Power of Open Ended Questions: Do You Like Stuff?

        posted by , January 31, 2013

The Simpsons was a brilliant cartoon that taught be a great deal about business strategies and life in general.

Case in point, The Simpsons taught me the power of open ended questions.

Do You Like Stuff?

Ralph is nervous because he has a crush on Lisa. They are walking home from school together and he asks:

Uh... so... do you like... stuff?
~ Ralph, The Simpsons
People say there is no such thing as a dumb question. In this case, I think they're right.

Ralph asks Lisa the ultimate open ended question. It's an effective communication strategy.

The Power of Open Ended Questions

Open ended questions allow your conversation partner to answer freely. They are intended to get the other side talking. They require more than a yes/no answer.

Examples of Open Ended Questions

How are you?
What's on your mind?
What's up?

Job Interview
Can you tell me about your current role?
Why are you interested in this opportunity?

Salary Negotiations
What are your salary expectations?

What are you looking for in a car?

Meetings (general)
Is there anything else?

Open ended questions keep the other side talking. They are an essential tool for communication, influencing and negotiation.

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