Do bad questions exist? Definitely, depending on the context in which they are posed. The following are generally to be avoided:
Photograph © 2016 Yvonne Fontijn
Dealing with a loss can be seen as a grieving process, which based on Fiddelaers (2004) and Worden (2009) contains five tasks that need to be fulfilled:
Lake Bohinj, Slovenia. Photograph © 2011 M.F. van Alphen
Loss has its roots in the environment – a situation arises in which something is lost. A loss is generally something irreversible, something permanent. It can be a loss of all kinds of things such as a loved one, your health (including the capabilities that are no longer available to you), a job, a relationship, trust (for example when your partner has had an affair), a marriage (after a divorce), or feelings of security or safety (after a traumatic experience). The key association with loss is that an attachment which has been developed is no more. Usually, sadness and depressive feelings stand at the forefront; but the whole gamut of negative emotions can also play a role.
I had to smile inwardly. It wasn’t that I disagreed with the content of what she was saying. Many others say it similarly, such as Edgar Schein calling it humble inquiry, Miller and Rollnick calling it tempering our reparation reflex, Martin Appelo the suppression of our desire to convert and my term observational listening.
Sometimes you will need to tell someone something unpleasant. The characteristic of bad news is that the information you are bringing leaves the other with no option other than to accept it.
Predicting behaviour is an interesting enterprise and is one of the kingpins of the study of psychology. In this article we will use a model proposed by Alan Watkins (2013), adapted and slightly adjusted to fit the terminology generally used in the field of psychology. In his model, behaviour is like the roof of a building, and the building represents the person’s behavioural skills. People generally think that possessing the necessary skills is enough to demonstrate appropriate behaviour. However, merely having a skill does not guarantee that it will be used.
Conversations run smoother when you have an open attitude towards your conversational partner and actively create a good conversational relationship. The collaboration is most effective when conversational partners feel safe and listened to. This all sounds rather obvious, and is rather clichéd too. That’s why in this article we consider how to actually do this.
So why do people want to communicate with one another? Is it just making noise because we are supposed to be social animals? Could be. But that raises another question: Why are we social beings?
Ordinarily, people tend to ask questions with a certain goal or purpose in mind. They then listen to the answer as if the answer is based on the question they intended to ask. Yet the other answers based on what he or she understood the question to mean. Observational listening trains the listener to let go of his or her own goals and intentions and concentrate on the reactions evoked. In other words, the listener tries to find out what the question meant to the other. In this way, the listener will “get it”, and be able to bring depth into the conversation in a natural way, without resorting to tricks.