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  LiveWire / My Forums / Viewing Peer Listener Handbook

Four Types of Questions
Republished with permission from the Whitman College Peer Listener Handbook
Note: The handbook is an excellent resource, especially when listening in person,
however it does not perfectly mesh with LiveWire's "Peer Answers" philosophy.
Closed Question:
Starts With:did, do, won't
Answer:direct answers yes, no
Examples:"Do you like to cook?"
"How long have you been cooking?"

Open Question:
Starts With:how, what (sometimes when, where)
Answer:open, can go in many directions
Examples:"What was your most unusual experience with foods?"

Starts With:when, where
Answer:direct information
Examples:"When did you move to California?"

Feeling Level:
Starts With:how, what
Answer:verbalize emotions, feelings, and beliefs
Examples:"How do you feel about living in California compared to Minnesota?" (This is also an open ended question)

It is important to try to respond with "I" messages. "I" messages tell the other person you are taking responsibility for your own actions and feelings. "I" messages also open conversations and create more opportunities for self disclosure.

Additionally, between the four types of questions, there is not one form that is better than another; however, over use of one type of question can make conversation more cumbersome. Generally speaking, Peer Listeners try to use more open and feeling questions as this puts the responsibility on the client to lead the conversation and work through the situation on their own.

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