* Ask Open-ended Questions. This is a skill that gets people involved in describing their own experiences as they relate to the session objective(s). A conversation should then develop that flows naturally and spontaneously. Asking open-ended questions is the most direct way to find out what it is that these particular WIC participants need to talk about. These questions must be worded so that people do not feel they are being interrogated, yet should enable you to find out important and specific information.
An open-ended question is one which cannot be answered by a “yes” or “no” which would only give you a minimum of information and close the conversation. There are no right or wrong answers to open-ended questions. Open-ended questions require more informative answers and are the same questions a good new reporter asks: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, How Much, How Often.
In asking open-ended questions, you must take care not to pose too many questions in sequence which can make people feel they are being interrogated. If you set up a friendly atmosphere from the beginning, this will encourage participants to talk on a conversational level rather than just answering a series of questions. Also, balance your use of open-ended questions with the other facilitating skills such as clarifying or focusing.