No Need to be Afraid to Ask Sensitive Questions

Johari Window
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Jaap de Jonge
Editor, Netherlands

No Need to be Afraid to Ask Sensitive Questions

An interesting research by Hart, VanEpps and Schweitzer reveals that many people are hesitant to ask sensitive questions (for example about salary, lifestyle choices and relationships) to other people. Individuals avoid asking sensitive questions due to concerns about others' discomfort and due to impression management.
Even more interesting about all this is that consistently across 5 experiments, both personal and online, both with friends and with strangers, the other party did NOT perceive more discomfort than was the case if such questions were not asked.

That's a very important finding. Also for applying the Johari Window. If you are shy to ask (sensitive) questions (and share your personal information), you will not open up the window as much and you might miss important information.

Asking lots of questions is also key for learning, improves your thinking, makes you and the other party more open, makes both of you happier and perhaps even wiser. So no longer be afraid to ask questions, not even "sensitive ones". They are in fact sensitive only for you, but not for the other person!
E. Hart, E. VanEpps and M.E. Schweitzer (2021), "The (Better Than Expected) Consequences of Asking Sensitive Questions", Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Volume 162, January 2021, pp. 136-154.
I. Stasiulionyte (2016), "6 Underlying Benefits of Asking Questions", Success.


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