Questions and Listening

One of the practices that I use in various leadership programs is what I call "soft-ball" questions--questions to which only the person we are asking could possibly know the answer,  And once we get the answer we can't possibly second guess the person.  They are the complete authority on their answer.  Questions like: "When did this first begin to trouble you?"  "What have you thought about doing?"    These questions which come from the hundreds of year old Quaker tradition of the clearness committee draw out the wisdom of the other--or as Parker Palmer says, they  "listen the other person into their own knowing."   This process creates a powerful interplay of words and silence, questions and listening.  One of the most intriguing representations of that interplay of words and silence (in which silence is in a dance with sound, rather than being an absence of sound) is represented in this piece of music by the Estonian composer Arvo Pär......Listen and notice what you experience in listening.  Both to the silence and to the sounds.