iCRA expert bite #2: ASK to LISTEN!

November 4, 2022

Most people think that to listen to someone you must shut your mouth and stay quiet. This is not often true. What if we told you that you could be a better listener by actually talking?! By asking probing questions.   

We give you five tips on how to use probing questions to listen better. 

  1. Ask open questions; what, how, where… avoid questions that may be answered with a yes or no and limit exploration
  2. Ask one at a time; give the speaker the chance to answer before you ask another question. Avoid pilling up.
  3. Ask for examples; if you need more understanding and relatability of the subject. 
  4. Ask for clarification; paraphrase on content and emotions. Confirm if what you understand is right.
  5. Ask and shut up! Remain silent and let the other speak, no interruptions unless you are nudging, gently.

Probing questions are one of the micro skills of effective listening that we cover in our soft-skills development module of “Building Trust with Stakeholders for collaboration” and “Listening Skills” in our courses Making Resource Work and Making Agribusiness Work.

This iCRA expert bite has been written by Chau Dang Van.