Are You Asking Consequence Questions?
Consequence questions uncover the causes or root elements of an issue, and can lead to an effective solution. If you just tell someone what the problem is, it is not real to them. But once they can verbalize the consequences of a decision, they can get to a solution. This article also contains a link to a video by Carson Evans. For an honors program as a senior at Western Carolina University, Carson pulled skills out of my book “The Art of the Q.” In this video, you will see Carson model the S.C.A.N. Method. The ‘C’ in S.C.A.N. stands for consequences. Are you asking consequence questions?
Here are some consequence questions:
- “What happens if…?”
- “What do you do when…?”
- “Does this create challenges…?”
In the following video, you can watch Carson Evans skillfully set up a consequence question by first asking about a situation.
Consequence questions are not just limited to business or sales!
In life, you may need to assist friends, family members or co-workers. If you can help people see the impact of their personal decisions, it may help the people you care about to think things through. You will need to ask questions, listen and patiently process the information.
Suppose a friend of yours is considering divorce.
You could ask these consequence questions:
- “What happens if your spouse asks you to move out?”
- “What do you do when there is a mortgage and now rent for your new place as well?”
- “Does this create challenges for your budget?”
In your conversation, you will find that some topics hit the mark and some do not. Ask follow-up questions that follow the interest paths of the other party. Your aim is to facilitate a mutual understanding of the frustrations, implications and hidden drawbacks of a situation. It takes a great deal of concentration to do this.
Asking consequence questions will open up the other person’s mind
This awareness is often not enough, however. You’ll need to draw people further into the conversation so they can admit there are real issues to be solved. Consequence questions allow you to counsel people without telling them what to do. When they arrive at a conclusion, they own it, and hold themselves accountable.