The first technique - ask open questions
Part 1 (of many)
There are three basic ways to ask a question: open, closed and leading. Listen to a conversation, and you will hear that most people default to closed questions.
Open questions start with who, what, when, where, why, how or please explain. An example is “Who did you speak to?”
Closed questions usually start with “Did you…” or similar. A question with a restricted list of answers is also a closed one. Consider possible answers to: “Did you turn left or right?” or “which way did you turn?” or “What way did you go?”
Leading questions suggest the answer to the responder, such as “You enjoyed the course, right?”
The first technique is, therefore, a simple one. Ask only open questions. There are reasons to depart from it, but your default selection should be to ask open questions.
Exercise: using the Case Study, interview May Donoghue about her story.
Apply this technique to a case in your own practice or, if in law school, to a court case you are studying.
If you want more detail and exercises, consider The Art of the Interview - How Lawyers Talk with Clients, available from Irwin Law here.
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