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Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Ask Open Questions - Not Closed Ones

I am making a stand against the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. If you listen to the interviewers just notice how frequently they ask a question starting with "Do you think.......?" and then inject their own opinion for the interviewee either to agree or not.

Typically (and this was this morning) the interviewer asked "Do you think that even though he (Barack Obama) is coming in bringing with him lots of hope, after three or four years he won't have fulfilled expectations etc" (This is a precis of a long question but the gist is there)

I was taught years ago that the best way to ask a question is by the "Who, Why, What, Where, When and How" method, none of which can be answered by a simple yes or no. Just notice when an interviewer asks a child a closed question starting with a verb (Do, did, have, will etc.) the child will almost always answer yes or no which usually leaves the interviewer flummoxed and wondering what to say next.

And by the way, the "do you think...." question is almost always negative just building up the gloom and doom for which Today is justly famous. Rant over - tune in to Terry Wogan instead.

For more information check out www.maa-uk.co.uk and www.vistage.co.uk.You can contact us at ivan@maa-uk.co.uk or at ivan.goldberg@vistage.co.uk




1 comment:

blogmentor said...

What can I say? :-)