Effective information gathering & questioning technique

Learn what questions to ask and how to ask them | taught by CoThink Academy
12 month access
3 month access
1 month access
Accident & Incident Investigations: 3 courses in 1
Customer Service & Technical Support : 3 courses in 1
Root cause failure analysis: 4 courses in 1

Course description

Who is Effective Information Gathering & Questioning Technique for?

The starting point in any rational approach to problem solving is getting the factual information required to actually understand the problem that needs to be resolved. Without this, problem solving efforts will often be based on opinions and/or speculation which can lead to huge and very costly loss of time.

This issue is particularly critical in large and/or geographically dispersed organisations where the people directly in contact with customers: Sales people, field service personnel, installation teams, technical help desks etc… must have the skills required to collect information in a manner that facilitates problem solving activities by upstream technical support teams. When this is not the case, there is generally a huge loss of information as it moves through the different levers of typical escalation processes.

Even in more compact organisations such as manufacturing facilities, problem solving activities will be far more efficient and successful when those who are close to the action know what questions to ask so that they can accurately describe what they are observing.

When information collection activities are dependent on input from third parties such as customers, people involving in an accident or major incident, etc.. knowing how to ask questions is also a critical skill. Get it wrong by putting your discussion partner on the defensive and you are likely to miss out on much vital information, get it right and you will immediately create the goodwill required to really get the facts.

Given this all of this, Effective Information Gathering & Questioning Technique is a very useful skills development course for all those in your organisation who are charged with collecting information about:

  • the problems your customers encounter with your products and/or services.
  • accidents and other major incidents.
  • process performance/reliability issues.

What will you learn?

In a nutshell, you will learn what questions to ask and how you should ask them in a manner which facilitates effective problem solving:

  • How to distinguish between facts and opinions
  • How to define a problem
  • What questions you should ask in order to describe a problem situation accurately
  • The need to integrate the subjectivity of perceptions ie. the fact that no two people on earth see things in exactly the same way.
  • The different types of question: Open, Probing, Closed.., and when each type should be used

Bonus: This course also introduces the key roles in formal problem solving activities: Owner, Experts and Facilitator.

Course Content.

  • Effective information gathering for problem solving: A very practical, interactive course covering the difference between facts and opinions and the key questions that need to be asked to describe a problem accurately. It also includes a self-evaluation exercise based on a case study to ensure that the concepts presented are fully understood.
  • The human dimension of problem solving: Again a very practical, interactive course which covers the subjectivity of perceptions and the impact of different questioning techniques. This is followed by a light-hearted role playing exercise where you play the role of Fabiana, a fearless facilitator from an equipment supplier called APS, who has been asked to help find a solution to a festering problem with a difficult customer called Fizera Pharma. Lastly, this course also includes a self-evaluation exercise to ensure that all the concepts presented are fully understood.

Time required.

Depending on prior experience with the subject matter and how you go about the practice exercises, this course can take between 1 and 1.5 hours.

Recommended prerequisites.

None, this is very much the first step in any rational problem solving process.

Read More


CoThink Academy
CoThink Academy
Senior Instructors

Tous les formateurs chez CoThink ont acquis leur expérience en résolution de problèmes sur le terrain, soit dans l'Industrie: agro-alimentaire, pharma, sidérurgie, chimie, construction mécanique.. soit dans l'Informatique, les Transports, le secteur Énergétique  etc.. En outre, nous croyons tous foncièrement dans les bienfaits de processus structurés où les méthodologies servent de langage partagé et où la visualisation facilite grandement le travail collectif. 

C'est notre passion de former les gens et de faciliter les groupes de résolution de problème de manière à rendre les lieux de travail plus sûrs, plus performants et plus motivants.