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Archive for Questions

The “Lineage” of Questions

I recorded this video of one of my very favorite people in the world, Helen Titchen-Beeth, when my colleague FireHawk Hulin and I were interviewing her for the World Cafe’s 20th Anniversary celebrations (clicking the link will download the 1.8M Harvest Report).

The exchange in this short excerpt particularly took my fancy, as Helen was having great fun describing the impact of powerful questions, digging back into the lineage to find the “mother of all questions”. Full disclosure compels me to say Helen had just had a bicycle accident and was laid up in bed recovering, which makes me wonder if perhaps pain killers had a hand in the hilarity?? No matter – for all that her comments are very funny, they are also very wise. (I love it when that happens!)

Questions as Seeds

Preparing our next course on The Art of Questions, I am reminded about the clear connection between questions, harvesting and sense-making.

The questions determine the conversations we are having, the reflections we get, and the results of our meetings.
Some of the reflections I have been having thinking about:

  • What does the question open up?
  • Where is the question leading?
  • Where does the question come from – why are we asking the question?
    There are so many questions that come from fear and insecurity, how can our questions open up possibility and point us towards the future that we want?
  • How do we create containers where curiosity and a willingness to listen is present?
  • How can we connect to what is really relevant to the people around us?

Connecting to this last question, I think the answer is very simple. As Bliss Browne said as we were preparing for our first session about questions: “The most powerful question is often to ask people what questions they really care about.”

Along this line of thinking the most powerful harvest we can have from a conversation is often new, better-informed questions that reflect what is really important for the people who are part of the conversation.