Open-Ended, Focused Questions

When you have a conversation that is geared towards assisting someone in clarifying what is important to them, open-ended questions can elicit more nuanced information than questions that require a yes or no answer. 

Open ended questions are appropriate when you are having a conversation with someone about their preferences, concerns, emotions….

Shared decision making often calls for open ended questions.

When asking open ended questions, focus the question on the topic at hand:

“How would it be for you if ______ happened?”

“Can you tell me more about your concerns about hormones?”

“What questions do you have for me about ______?”

(This question can be more effective than, “What questions do you have?”  If you use focused phrasing, the patient is more likely to ask a question, rather than using a phrase like, “Do you have any questions?”.)

When asking factual questions, “yes or no”-type questions are efficient and appropriate.

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