Use better words.

Questions that stimulate informative answers almost all begin with the open-ended WHAT or HOW.

Questions that begin with “Are you” or Do you” invite yes and no answers, and then shut down the conversation.

Yes/ No: “Do you want to ….”
Answer: “No.”

Open-ended: “How would you feel about …”
Answer: “I’d rather try ….”

Yes/ No: “Are you interested in …?”
Open-ended: “What would you like to do about ….?”

DISCUSS: How and what questions.

Don’t want/ Don’t likeWould like

Multiple don’t want statements
seldom add up to one clear would like

“I don’t want a blue sweater.”
“I don’t want a cardigan.”

Would like statements efficiently convey your preferences

“I would like a red V neck sweater.”

Don’t like tends to engender defensiveness, discouragement and negativityWould like invites constructive dialog
Don’t like and don’t want generate
ill will
Would like adds positivity, goodwill, enthusiasm and cooperation

Avoid following “would like” with the word “you”. I would like you to sounds controlling.

These invite cooperation

  • I would like a
  • I would like to
  • I would like more

Example: You can neutralize the negativity of a I don’t want by adding what you would like.
“I don’t like to start dinner at 7 PM; I would like to start earlier so we can have longer evenings together.”

DISCUSS: Would like statements

Nobody likes to hear complaints.

  • No one likes to hear complaints; they give most people a downer feeling.

Instead of complaining, request.

  • Requests establish a positive tone and invite
    helpful responses and solutions.

Complaint: “I hate …”

Complaint: “Why do we always …”

Complaint: “I don’t like that ….”

Complaint: “It bugs me when …”

Request: “How about …?”

Request: “How would you feel …?”

Request: “What are your thoughts about …?”

Request: “What do you think about ….?”

DISCUSS: Complaints vs Requests

Scroll to Top