I’m always fascinated with how we can use questions to explore new possibilities.

My first hint of this was when I started facilitating years ago.  A colleague showed me how you could provide flexibility in an agenda by using questions.  A simple example of quarterly product planning might be:

PURPOSE: Decide what key features we will provide in our product


  • What goals do we have for the quarter?
  • What is the current state of the product?
  • What kudos, concerns, and complaints have we heard from our customers?
  • Based on what we’ve discussed, what might be our priorities now?
  • What do we feel we can truly accomplish this quarter?
  • What are our next steps?

Notice how each agenda item question provides an opening for different people to share information and perspectives?  I found this approach very different from the short and directive agendas I saw before this technique.

chalk writing on asphalt saying "What do you mean?"
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Recently, I attended a retrospective with a group that frequently paired on their work.  Their choice of questions for reflection and action looked like this:

  1. Can you share what happened for you this quarter?
  2. What did you accomplish with your group partner during this time?
  3. What concerns and gratitudes do you have about the work?
  4. Do you have any reflections on what you have heard from others in this meeting?
  5. What have you learned in your group pair that may help others?
  6. What would you like to have happen next?

I appreciated these questions because it respected individual perspectives, group learning, and provided equal weight to concerns and gratitudes.  These questions also gave them many options to take on new work.

Another quick example happened this week when another coach asked, “How do you charge for a keynote presentation?” My response was:

Usually, keynotes are to inspire and inform.  For both “inspire and inform”, it is usually with the goal of making the larger group aware of something very new.  It could even address something very urgent to them.

So to help answer your question:

  • Have they asked you to speak on a specific topic?
  • Do you choose the topic based on a specific problem they may be facing?
  • Do you need to develop the material for the keynote?
  • Are you modifying a prior keynote someone from the org has seen?
  • Is the keynote based on a book or course you have created?
  • Is there a “call to action” (or are you just providing an inspirational story)?

Answers to these questions tell me if I have more or less work to prepare for the keynote address.

So what questions do you use to plan your day or week?

I’d like to hear about it.


P.S. On my blog, you can find more resources on remote facilitation and hybrid-remote facilitation.