10. May 2023

"What Is Your First Thought on This?" or the Power of Simple Questions in Discussions

Have you ever found yourself in a discussion where you felt like your ideas weren't being heard or understood? Or maybe you were in a group where everyone was talking at once, and it was hard to follow what was being said? Effective communication is essential for any group to work together successfully, but it can be challenging to achieve. That's where simple questions come in.

Seems Trivial, but Isn't (Because of Comfort)

When we communicate, we often assume that we're on the same page as the other person or people we're talking to. We might nod our heads or say "uh-huh" to indicate that we're following along, but that doesn't always mean we understand or agree with what's being said. Asking simple questions can help clarify misunderstandings and get everyone on the same page.

The two most simple questions that can be asked are "why" and "what." These questions can be used to dig deeper into someone's thinking or to get more information about a topic. For example, if someone says they think a certain idea is a bad one, you could ask them "why do you think that?" This question will prompt them to give a reason for their opinion, which will help everyone else understand their thinking better. While this may seem trivial these questions are posed rarely enough. Why? The reasons for this would probably fill a small book, but the most basic answer would be that they can be uncomfortable sometimes.

Going Deeper

The next level of questions are "what's your first thought" or "why is this important." These questions are more powerful because they force us to be explicit about our thinking. When we are explicit about our thoughts, e.g. by writing them down, it allows us to reflect on them and refine them. When others see our thinking, they can also reflect on it and refine their own thinking. However, it's important to note that these questions should only be asked when a discussion is stuck or when there's a disagreement. Otherwise, it can be overwhelming for everyone to have to be explicit about their thoughts.

This is where Imaranda's AI comes in. Imaranda is an app that moderates discussions and asks simple questions strategically to help users conduct effective discussions. By asking questions like "why do you think that?" or "what's your first thought?" at key moments in the discussion, Imaranda prompts users to clarify their thinking and helps the group reach a common understanding.

In conclusion, simple questions are powerful tools for facilitating effective discussions. By asking questions like "why" and "what," we can get more information and clarify misunderstandings. By asking more specific questions like "what's your first thought" or "why is this important," we can force ourselves to be explicit about our thinking and help others reflect on their own thinking. And by using Imaranda, we can strategically ask these questions to make sure everyone is on the same page and working together effectively.

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