Effective communication is integral to your success as a paralegal — from taking depositions and interviewing witnesses, to performing preliminary client interviews. One of the most crucial communication skills you need to hone is how to question individuals effectively.
Below are two of the most common and useful questioning techniques you’d do well to master.
1. Funnel Questioning Technique
This approach involves the use of intentional inquiry sequences that usually includes a series, or close-ended questions that once answered could provide plenty of opportunities to ask for open-ended questions.
This questioning technique is very useful for obtaining specific details past events, with the use of close-ended questions, which enables you to establish clear facts about setting a scene or situation, explains a top online paralegal certification course instructor.
Once you have the basic facts you need, you could then proceed to ask open-ended questions to explore the incident further.
2. Close-Ended and Open-Ended Questioning
Whenever you can, opt for open-ended questions since these produce more details. On the other hand, close-ended questions could be easily answered with a word or a phrase.
For example, “Tell me how the accident happened.” is better than “Where did the accident happen?” since the former would lead to the interviewee giving you more information, while the latter could be answered with just the location of the accident and not much else.
Put simply, opt for open-ended questions when you need to engage an interviewee in a conversation to obtain specific information, and opt for close-ended questions if you’re simply looking to verify specific information or substantiate your understanding of a particular event or situation.
The bottom line, the funneling approach, close-ended questioning, and open-ended questioning could be useful in a variety of applications, not only for interviewing relevant people for your job but work situations as well.
With these, you could easily learn crucial information about a case, confirm details you already have, and prevent misunderstandings.