The Dandelion Group

Technique of the week

Loaded questions

You do not have to answer to make a point. The right query can also set the agenda.

Questions are powerful. To maximise the impact, you have to realise the different types. For instance, explorative and affective questions reframe because they can move discussions to the meta-level or trigger a specific emotion. Another option is analytical questions. Ask them when you want to look beyond symptoms and target root causes or to create connections. Once you have found the best match choose a timing that suits the occasion.

How to lead with questions

  1. Think about how other speakers intend to frame the discussion and assess to which extend it fits your agenda.

  2. Prepare a question in case someone goes off topic.

  3. (Re-)frame the discussion if necessary .

Exercise

It is March 2019. Slovakia is going to elect a new president. Your are preparing liberal lawyer Zuzana Čaputová for a debate against the experienced diplomat Maros Šefčovič. He has been nominated by an established party and is also the Vice-President for the Energy Union of the European Commission. Your candidate entered the ring after a journalist got murdered. Although she is known for a firm stance on anti-corruption and supports LGBT+ rights, critics say she lacks political experience and a network.

Equip her with three questions so that the debate centers on her topics.

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Ben WilhelmComment