Whilst watching Tom Watson MP question Rupert and James Murdoch today over the phone tapping scandal at News International it became clear that Watson knew how to ask questions that could garner interesting information.
He was asking open questions that required an answer eg “Could you tell us more about . . .” rather than closed questions such as “Did you ….” which will get you a yes or a no.
Closed questions have their place, especially when you are pushing someone on a particular question in order to establish a fact as Jeremy Paxman did here with former Conservative party leader Michael Howard.
Watson’s questioning technique chimed with me as I just commissioned this article on asking the right questions for TrainingZone.
Asking the right questions is an important skill for all of us, not just MPs and journalists. Using open questions will help open up the person you are talking to – or in the case of Murdoch today, reveal something he didn’t want to reveal.