Don’t Argue: Ask Questions

don't argue, ask questions insteadThey say “It takes two to tango”. Well, it also takes at least two to argue. It’s not possible to have an argument with someone if there is no reaction. My advice is don’t argue. If you need to find solutions to create a win/win outcome, then arguing isn’t going to serve you. The best way to reach a reasonable and acceptable outcome is to ask questions.

In coaching it’s normal to encourage people to ask questions so the other person can hear the potential solution in their own words. It’s said that coaches don’t ask questions to hear the answer themselves, but so their client can hear the answer. Questions actually let the person to take ownership and responsibility for the solution. There are times, when talking to someone, we already know the answer. It’s more powerful to allow someone to come up with solutions on their own.

The same works with arguments. When all someone wants is to argue, questioning isn’t going to be that helpful. If you want to formulate a solution, questioning can go a long way to creating a solution that’s agreeable to both parties.

Don’t Argue – It Doesn’t Serve You

I believe it’s useless to argue or try to reason with people who are convinced I am wrong and they are right . . . the foundation to any argument. By asking simple questions aimed at getting a response of providing a solution instead, the person begins to see the problem from a different perspective. Questioning allows people work through a problem and think about it in a different way, without the need for conflict or argument.

This process is very helpful when there is conflict. The process of asking questions can be very valuable when dealing with others in a potentially stressful situation. Let’s take a look at on such situation.

Let’s say that I was in a department store looking to buy a large item of electrical goods. I had followed directions in the electrical department advising me to take my order to the cashier, who would place and confirm the order, take the payment and arrange for shipping.

In this case, the cashier got confused and called over the head cashier, whose name was Gloria.

ask questions because arguing doesn\'t serve youGloria told me I was wrong and need to go to another department to place the order. Gloria clearly indicated she wasn’t interested when I showed her the instructions I read before I proceeded with the order. I could easily get into an argument and cause a situation to get unnecessarily heated and stressful. Instead, I asked some questions. I started with a very important one, “Gloria, how are we going to resolve this?” I remained calm and focused on how to get the order placed. Gloria seemed to have a problem with helping me. However, in the end the situation was resolved without any argument. Asking questions helped Gloria and I stay focused without arguing.

This policy of no arguing can help you in your own business too. There is always a solution to any potential problem if you know how to find it. Any conversation that has conflict and denial in it serves nobody in finding that solution. In many cases, the question route is the right one. The conflict route is the foolish one.

Avoid defending your position or trying to prove a point. Don’t argue, but focus on asking questions. Questions can avoid a stressful situation and allow both parties to see the problem in a different light. Even if you already know the answer, the other person will be more open to a solution if they’re allowed to find it on her or his own. Don’t argue, ask questions!


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14 Responses to Don’t Argue: Ask Questions

  • Very sage advice, Barrie. Questions that prompt the other to look at a situation from a different angle is certainly one way to avoid an argument. And you are right, arguing will never help your business.

    enjoy the journey!

  • Barrie,

    So important to ask questions instead of telling someone else what to think or what to do. sometimes we think we “know” without respecting the fact that the other person may also “know” something different. When we ask questions, we show respect and interest and concern for the other person.

    couples in long term relationships often forget to ask because they think they already know – or because they want to force the other person to comply.

    asking is always better.

    Thanks for a great post.

  • Hi Barrie,
    I liked that Dont argue ask questions
    How simple, and how effective that advise is.
    As you stated asking the questiion is not for you to hear the answer but for the other person to hear their own reply.

    Good article!

  • Good points here, Barrie.

    When I do the customer service part of my business, I am especially aware of the need to focus on solutions to problems, dealing with situations. There’s never any point to arguing over ”whose fault” it is, or “why” such and such happened.

    Stay focused on making things right, and making everyone satisfied that the conversation was about problem solving, not proving who is right or who is wrong. Questions are always a great way to make that happen, and avoid conflict.

  • Oh so wise Barrie. Arguing is often, but not always provoked by someone who is,pushing your buttons. And often all that happens is,you lock horns amd get stuck.
    Great article, thanks for sharing.

  • Hello Barrie! Yikes I hate to argue with anyone! Your advice it spot on, asking questions is the only way to get the answers you are looking for.
    Loved this post.
    Thanks for sharing
    Chery :))

  • Good points here, Barrie.
    When I do the customer service part of my business, I am especially aware of the need to focus on solutions to problems, dealing with situations. There’s never any point to arguing over ”whose fault” it is, or “why” such and such happened.

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