Compare these two questions:
Why would you want to do that?
How can that help us reach the goal?
Questions are very powerful in business and everyone who has attends our programmes leaves committed to using questions more effectively. Your choice about how to respond is more than just a simple request for information.
You are communicating a powerful message.
The most common open question I hear is “why?”. Why is the central question of research, a question searching for intent, a reason behind something. It is also a challenge. Why tends to be backward looking and personal.
Of course, “Why?” doesn’t always have to be negative and backward, it’s just easy to use it that way, so we do. Try it. Create a negative “why?” question. Now try creating a positive “why?” question; one that is forward looking.
“How?” is a question looking for a path; often a path to the future. The “how?” question gets the mind to consider possibilities that maybe didn’t exist. It is focused on solutions. Like “why?”, it’s possible to make a “how” question negative, just not as easy.
The next time you are tempted to ask a “why?” question, stop and replace it with a “how?” question and notice the difference.