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Rules for Resolving Conflicts – # 4 of 14 – Ask Good Questions

One of the important skills of good communication, and especially, good conflict resolution is the ability to ask good questions that invite greater understanding. And by the way, when you ask a good question, really listen to the response and take it into your reservoir of understanding. Here are examples:

I really understand what you are saying. Is this what you said? What do you need from me? How can I change? How can I be helpful? Is there something I can do?

Notice the focus and the words used are open, inviting questions trying to find out in the question what the other person is thinking and wanting. Avoid the “why?” word, such as, “Why did you do that?” or “Why are you so angry?” or “Why can’t you understand me or communicate with me?” These come across as attacking the other person, and the more your communication comes across as an attack or put down, the more likely the response will be defensive.

Another good rule that’s related to this one is the “Two Question Rule.” Ask a good question, then, listen carefully to the response to the question, and then, ask a second good question that directly relates to the response given. What needs to be the goal of the questions you ask? Greater understanding of where your partner is coming from, what’s on his/her mind and what is happening that he/she wants or needs to happen in your relationship. So let your interactions be filled with good questions.


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