Asking Clarifying Questions

Asking Clarifying Questions

Asking probing and clarifying questions as part of the creative process helps you and your team to have a better and shared understanding of what the problem, challenge, or opportunity is, but also acts as a bridge to help you start thinking about possible ideas, options or solutions.

The first step in asking clarifying questions will be to use question prompts to help you develop as many questions as possible, then working together or individually you can further diverge by providing as many answers to the questions.

One commonly used set of question prompts is known as 5Ws & H. Imagine you had to solve the problem of low sales of your products. You and your team could use the 5Ws & H as follows to generate lots of clarifying questions:

  • What: What is the cause of the low sales? What can we learn from our competitors? What alternatives are customers buying?

  • Why: Why are customers not buying? Why are others still selling?

  • Where: Where do customers prefer to go? Where can we get less expensive supplies?

  • When: When do we have to start turning things around? When did the dropping sales start? When else in our past have, we faced such low sales?

  • Who: Who are the main customers that have stopped buying? Who are the other major players in our industry?

  • How: How have we dealt with crises in the past? How have our competitors dealt with this in the past?

You can further ensure that your ideas, solutions, and plans are transmitted effectively to your customers, employees, and other stakeholders by exploring the Learning Impact NG’s School of Business Communication, which provides a number of learning interventions and workshops that will help build a culture of effective communication in your people and teams.

Also, here is a FREE online course on how the interplay of creativity and innovation processes affects the culture of your organization and the results achieved by your team: Is your Team Really Creative?

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