Questioning techniques and interventions

You have conversations every day. These are usually informal conversations. Have a nice chat at the supermarket or chat about the day that has passed. However, there are also many people who have formal conversations every day. These official conversations of a business nature are not always easy for everyone. The frequency of such a conversation influences its course. This article describes questioning techniques and associated interventions.


A conversation is oral communication between people. This could be two people, but certainly also several. As stated in the introduction, a conversation can have an informal or formal character. Furthermore, there are many different types of conversations, such as: bad news conversations, performance reviews, conflict conversations, and so on.

Questioning techniques and interventions

Various questioning techniques can be used to guide a formal conversation. These questioning techniques can be used with the associated interventions. Below are 12 questioning techniques with examples of different interventions.

Position yourself

  • Show that the other person has your full attention.
  • Be quiet and let the other person talk calmly.
  • Try to understand the other person.


Listen to the other

  • Show non-verbally that you are listening, for example by nodding.
  • Give short verbal encouragement so that the other person continues with the story.



Let us know you understand by:

  • to repeat
  • resume
  • mirror



  • Bring order to the conversation.
  • Confront the other with contradiction (say=do)


Connect questioningly

  • Stay within the story, don’t deviate.
  • Make use of facts and feelings (how does that happen? Tell us more?)


To steer

  • Join the conversation and push the conversation in the direction you want.



  • Encourage the other person.
  • Support the other.
  • Keep main and side issues separate.
  • Weigh things up.


Add interrogative

  • Deviate slightly from the story, but keep the main point in mind.


To inform

  • Make an announcement, either adjacent or separate from the whole.


To advise

  • Give the other person advice and direction.
  • Emphasize a choice.



  • Give your view on the value.
  • Give your view on the main issues.
  • Give your view on the side issues.



  • Obligates the other person to take action.
  • Give an order.



  • Think carefully before you answer or take any other action. This way you prevent the conversation from taking a different turn unconsciously and unnecessarily.
  • Humor makes a conversation a bit more light-hearted. Please note: humor cannot be used in all conversations, and in bad news conversations it may not be tactical to use humor. And also estimate your conversation partner carefully, some people do not want lightness in formal conversations.
  • After the conversation, reflect briefly on how it went. Are you satisfied or would you like to do or approach something different next time?

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