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Extending the conversation

Extends conversation with 'closed', 'open-ended', broadcast', 'expanding', 'ricochet', 'back to the sender' questions

· team,communication

To ensure that you're being told the full story, here are different types of questions that draw out different types of responses. When managed well, asking the right questions can lead to more productive discussions.


Gets surface level information and quick answers. Accomplishes fact finding, but should generally be avoided.
"Where were you born?" or "Did you come by bus?"


Stimulates thinking, encourages deeper discussions and gets multiple answers.
"How do you feel about this?"


Broadcast-asked of the entire group
Encourages discussion and gets everyone involved.
This is any question thrown out to the group in general.

Pinpoint-asked of one person in the group
Pulls someone into the discussion.
"Jill, what do you think about this?"


Expanding-asking for more information in an answer
Deepens understanding and gets more involvement.
"Could you tell us more about this?"


Ricochet-facilitator asks someone else in the group to answer the question
Elicits other points of view and gets others involved.
"How would all of you respond?" or "Jack, what do you think about that?"


Back at you- person is asked to answer his/her own question
Encourages more thought. Causes the questioner to verbalise his/her thinking.
"I don't know. What do you think?" or "What has been your experience?"