What is a Provocative Question?

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?

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