Category: Workshop Facilitation

Open And Closed Questions

The development of research in business studies and business communication has brought about a lot of new facts and interesting aspects if human behavior. Most of these related to various aspects of customer interaction. On the basis of these studies business communication has developed a process of verbal interaction while doing business or sales. Most business and sales personnel undergo a training of this process and most of the soft skill training include it in their curriculum as well. Open ended and close ended questions form an integral part of these business communications.

The use of these techniques is not just limited to the area of business communication, today almost all surveyors and research questionnaires depend on this form of questioning to generate a more reliable data for their use. The main reason behind this is that these two forms if combined together provide a funnel effect and help reach a desired solution or data rather more easily. A close ended question can be defined as one which can be answered in a single word, this word can be a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ or any other word. For e.g. questions like ‘how old are you?’ or ‘which grade are you in?’ or ‘Do u like football?’ all can be answered in a single word, hence they are called close ended questions.

These kinds of questions have many uses like opening a conversation or understanding a point more clearly or to generate a concrete response etc.

On the other hand open ended questions intentionally seek longer and more descriptive answers. With such questions the respondent is required to think and ponder over the answer and then convey his or her feelings or opinions or needs. In business communication this is a process of further knowing a person’s needs, requirements or problems etc. for e.g. questions like ‘what are you looking for?’ or ‘why is that so important to you?’ or ‘what is it that you require?’ etc require an elaborate answer to be convey a message clearly, hence these are called open ended questions. Such questions are used to lead a conversation especially during a business communication towards identifying the needs and problems to which one has a solution. It is quite an effective tool in this regard.

So whereas the close ended questions generate quick responses, the open ended questions are the ones that lead towards a solution or a deal. The close ended questions usually leave incomplete remarks which demand an unrestrained and free response that is in turn created by the trust developed with open ended questions.

Soft skill training of various categories and different segments emphasizes on the need to club these two together for a good general conversation. It also helps in leaving a good first impression at someone you have just met. Also such a combination makes sure that no one party is completely overshadowing the other or controlling the conversation, rather it enables to develop a healthy and a mutually interesting dialogue that is satisfactory for both the persons involved. Along with this it also leads to a smooth business interaction that is in the end very yielding. So mastering the art of using these questions can be the best thing a budding sales executive learns. More so because it is something not taught at business schools.

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Deal With Office Gossip

Gossip in office is something that is natural, given the way people like to swap information about others. However, when it starts getting nastily personal and aims at casting someone in a bad light, you have to step in to rein in the gossipers. An important part of executive development is learning to maintain a professional demeanor at the office and you need to impress this on your team by taking speedy action to stem the gossip. Here is a step-wise guide on how to go about this.

  1. Identify if there is some truth behind the stories you hear and get factual information on this issue.
  2. Have a closed-door meeting with the persons who are the source of the gossip. Ask them to give an explanation of why they are saying the things they are. Maintain a positive attitude towards the gossipers; if you are committed to real executive development, you need to provide your employees opportunities to overcome their weaknesses. Check if a gossiper feels hurt because he or she missed a promotion, or feels discriminated against.
  3. Say that you are planning to take up this issue with the person whom the gossiper is targeting. Most people who gossip are attention-seekers and will back down when you call their bluff.
  4. Assess if there is some underlying workplace issue such as insufficient or hostile communication or a lack of trust that is triggering this response from the gossiper. Consider holding a soft skill training or executive development program for your office staff to help improve employee morale.
  5. Include a point on office gossip in your company policy. Have it specified in black and white what you consider gossip and provide specific information on how your office will handle it.

Every organization has its own version of office politics, given the competitive nature of employees. As a leader or someone with leadership aspirations, you need to make sure that you do not join in with the office gossip even unknowingly. An important lesson in executive development is to always be watchful of how you talk about someone personally in the workplace.

You may not be able to put a complete end to office gossip but by dealing with it intelligently, you can certainly prevent it from becoming a spiteful and disruptive force that causes ill will among employees.

The Strengthscape designs and delivers customized soft skill training programs across India. Our program in emotional intelligence is highly innovative, full of fun and helps build a high performance team. We bring the best of facilitation techniques and subject matter expertise to make the intervention truely memorable. We provide services in all major indian cities including New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and many more.

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Paper Tearing Game

Learning/Application: Better Communication

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Importance Of Work Environment

Role of DiSC in improving work Environment

The criteria for selecting or rejecting a job are generally salary, role, brand, etc. However, what people generally miss out on while considering different jobs is the work environment and culture. The importance of a positive work environment is being increasingly realized by many, but is still taken lightly by some. As people spend most of their time working, the environment impacts the person greatly.  The work environment influences a person in various ways which might not be apparent but cannot be ignored.

A few ways in which a positive and collaborative work environment helps the organization and its employees are that it acts as a motivator, improves performance and helps in retention of the employees in the long run. Many studies conducted over a period of time show that positive work environment plays a crucial role in employee satisfaction. A negative work environment on the other hand not only lowers the productivity of the employee but also adds to the cost to the organization. Many experiments have shown that maximum learning and creativity takes place in a stress free environment. Thus, it becomes a prerequisite for organizations to ensure a healthy work environment for all the employees.

Employees are an important part of the work environment. It is seen that many times people are unable to adjust with some people and this may lead to forming a perception about them. Using an example to illustrate this, if two employees, A and B, are working in an office but don’t know each other well. They have separate group of friends. They need to work together for a project. Let us consider A as a quick decision maker and might get a little aggressive under stress and B as a person who likes to deliberate before taking a decision.

The differences between the two individuals may lead to each other forming a perception about the other person.  A may come across as dominating to B whereas B may come across as confused or slow in decision making. This perception might lead to chain reaction of events where A and B share their views about  each other with their friends, whose thoughts might actually get colored without even direct interaction with that person.

This is very common in most of the organizations. However, it can be reduced by understanding the fact that the person is behaving in a particular way just because he belongs to a particular style and that no style is bad. A behavioral assessment tool like DiSC provides the people with a common language and thus, helps in replacing the negativity with a more understanding and positive talk. In the process, it automatically leads to a more conducive, creative, inclusive and healthier work environment.

Therefore, building a positive work environment is important for multiple reasons and DiSC tool can be a great contributor to a healthy work environment.


Filed under: Workshop Facilitation