I was recently asked, by one of my mentorees, to help identify what is a provocative question. Here is my take. A provocative question is one that:
- Unveils the key issues that need to be addressed
- Helps expedite the process of reaching a strong conceptual agreement
- Helps establish trust yet is uncomfortable at times for the person to answer
- Stimulates the discussion and forces the person to think hard and dig deep
- Eliminates the junk which but that I mean the superfluous stuff that should be ignored or eliminated
- Positions you as an object of interest and as an expert
- Causes the person to say: “wow, I’ve never thought of it that way” or “that’s a great question!”
Although I recommend you collect such questions and store them in a system for easy retrieval, the ones I find most effective are the ones I come up with in the moment.
So what are you waiting for?