How to Find the Real Need with Socratic Questioning

Socrates

What Is Socratic Questioning?

Socratic Questioning is a dialog structured by a series of questions intended to draw out answers.

When Do You Use Socratic Questioning?

  • Discover the real need
  • Gain deeper understanding about assumptions
  • Help someone learn something.

Types of Questions in Socratic Questioning

Clarification What do you mean when you say…?
Probe Assumptions What are your assumptions and how did you arrive at them?
Probe Reasons and Evidence Why does that happen?
Viewpoints and perspectives Is there a different way to look at this?
Implications and Consequences What are the implications of…?
Questions about the question Why do you think I asked that question?

Things to Consider:

  • Listen – use the response to one question to guide your next question.
  • Start the discussion with a list of questions but be willing to explore relevant ideas.
  • Ask clear, specific, open ended questions.
  • Wait – give your stakeholders a chance to answer.
  • Follow up and ask for elaboration.
  • Summarize periodically.

Resources

Socratic Questioning Technique Brief

Presentation Slides

Handout

Scenario Exercise Results Agile2017

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