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What happens when you ask a Hungarian, "How are you"?

By Ági Székely, Entrust, Hungary

old woman's hands on her lap

Have you ever asked a Hungarian, “How are you?” expecting a usual, “I am fine,” and instead, found yourself hearing about that person’s every single health issue and problem? When we get this question, we suppose that the person asking the question is genuinely interested in every little aspect of our lives. A very interesting cultural phenomenon about one of the most common questions we have.

Did you ever use open questions in a discussion setting or in any kind of conversation with a family member, co-worker or even a stranger? I have found that one question can generate a half-hour discussion or answer — and that’s if it’s only me and one person.

I have been leading small groups for a while, but I got better at asking open-ended, thought-provoking questions after I took Entrust’s fundamental course, Facilitating Relational Learning. We learned about yes/no closed questions, short answer questions and the tricky “leading” questions.

Leading questions are the ones where you already have an answer in mind, and you want your small group to tell you that specific answer. They are tricky and so easy to ask because you probably discovered something in the text and want to make sure that you share that discovery with your audience.

There are other ways of doing that though, and you can learn about those in our training!

Jesus, who was the master of questions, asked 307 which are recorded in the Bible. Most probably he asked a lot more which “didn’t make the cut.” He asked many questions to help us become aware of things. Jesus is a great role model to follow in question- based learning, which is one of the best ways people learn.

- Ági Székely, Entrust, Hungary

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