Open-Ended Questions

Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions (questions that encourage more than just a yes or no response) are wonderful for gathering information, qualifying opportunities, and establishing rapport, trust and credibility.

The key to making them special…

Ask the question and let the other person give you their answer.

No leading.
No prompting.
No interrupting.

And if you can…

Add a small gap of silence between what someone says … and what you say or ask next (just an extra beat or two). You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you learn and the better connections you’ll make.

Below are 31 open-ended questions in no particular order. Some overlap but carry a slightly different tone. Some work for work. Some work for life. Some work for both.

They’re provided for your practicing and perfecting pleasure.



  1. How did you get involved in…?
  2. Who helped you get involved with…?
  3. What were you doing before?
  4. What do you enjoy most about that?
  5. What’s the best thing you learned from that?
  6. Where have you learned the most about…?
  7. Who taught you about…?
  8. What concerns do you have about…?
  9. What did you take away from the experience?
  10. How has that impacted you?
  11. How is that working out?
  12. How have you been handling that?
  13. What’s the biggest challenge with that?
  14. What advice would you give someone else about that?
  15. What are your thoughts on…?
  16. How did your company get involved in…?
  17. What kind of challenges are you and your group facing?
  18. What’s the most important priority to you and your organization right now?
  19. What effect has that had on your company?
  20. How did you overcome that?
  21. How does that process work now?
  22. What challenges does that create?
  23. What are the best things about that?
  24. What does everyone else in your department think about that?
  25. With [what, whom] have you had the most success in the past?
  26. [What have you done, Who did you use] that didn’t work out well?
  27. How do you mean?
  28. What does that mean?
  29. How do you see that working?
  30. Why?
  31. How?

(remember: no leading … no prompting … no interrupting … seriously.)