6 Non-judgmental inquiry
In order to really understand the situation, from everyone’s perspective, open, encouraging and non-judgmental questions need to be asked.
Some people have a tendency to ask questions in such a way that they immediately put the other person on the defensive. The reason is that their questions seem to be deliberately framed to find fault in the other person’s position – or to attack the other person’s perspective.
For example, some people enter conflicts or difficult conversations assuming (T) the other person is wrong. They respond by asking questions that are intended to prove they are right and the other person is wrong – or simply to embarrass the other person.
Listening intently for meaning: If you are to ask non-judgmental questions because you really want to get a clear picture from their perspective, then you need to stop everything and listen intently. Stop thinking about you!
Ask yourself: “Am I hearing and understanding what they are saying, or am I preparing my response”. This is called ‘loading up’ because it is like loading your gun for the quick draw. This practice comes from a ‘defensive’ mindset where you feel you have to defend your position. For example, some people actually don’t really care what the broader outcome is, so long as they win the argument, which they believe is achieved by having the best and fastest response.
Download the PDF “Non-judgmental questions” and use these next time you are preparing to have a difficult conversation or resolve a conflict.