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Find Out Anything From Anyone, Anytime

Secrets of Calculated Questioning From a Veteran Interrogator

By James O. Pyle and Maryann Karinch
13-minute read
Audio available
Find Out Anything From Anyone, Anytime: Secrets of Calculated Questioning From a Veteran Interrogator by James O. Pyle and Maryann Karinch

Find Out Anything From Anyone, Anytime (2014) is a guide to asking questions that will elicit the responses you seek. The authors draw on decades of experience to show that everyone – from teachers to journalists to doctors – can benefit from asking the right questions in the right way.

  • Journalists, lawyers or anyone whose job involves asking a lot of questions
  • People interested in the sociology of language
  • Those wishing to improve their conversational techniques

James O. Pyle is a veteran interrogator and intelligence-training instructor. He has worked for the Pentagon and the Defence Language Institute.

Maryann Karinch is a body language expert and author. Her 19 previous books include The Body Language Handbook and Get People To Do What You Want.

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Find Out Anything From Anyone, Anytime

Secrets of Calculated Questioning From a Veteran Interrogator

By James O. Pyle and Maryann Karinch
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
Upgrade to Premium Read or listen now
Find Out Anything From Anyone, Anytime: Secrets of Calculated Questioning From a Veteran Interrogator by James O. Pyle and Maryann Karinch
Synopsis

Find Out Anything From Anyone, Anytime (2014) is a guide to asking questions that will elicit the responses you seek. The authors draw on decades of experience to show that everyone – from teachers to journalists to doctors – can benefit from asking the right questions in the right way.

Key idea 1 of 8

Questions that start with who, what, where, why, when and how produce the best answers.

Do you get frustrated when people reply to your questions with a simple yes or no? To encourage a person to respond with full, illuminating answers, you need these six magic words: who, what, why, where, when and how. Let’s call them W-words.

Questions that begin with W-words are excellent because they don’t allow for simple yes/no answers. Consider this conversation between Jennie and her friend:

Jennie: “Did you go somewhere last night?”

Friend: “Yes.”

J: “Where did you go?”

F: “The cinema”

J: “But you hate the cinema, don’t you?”

F: “No”

J: “Why did you go?

F: “I was on a date with Bob, but it was raining, so we decided to go to the cinema.”

Did you notice that certain questions made it much easier for Jennie’s shy friend to reply with either a simple yes or no? When Jennie didn’t begin her question with a W-word, her friend was inclined to give a yes or no answer. Contrarily, when Jennie did use a W-word, her friend gave fuller, more satisfying responses – Jennie even managed to gather some juicy gossip about her date!

Questions that employ W-words are better because they’re less leading and confrontational.

The worst question that Jennie asked is, “But you hate the cinema, don’t you?” This question is very confrontational, forcing Jennie’s friend to disagree in order to respond.

In most situations, the person responding will merely agree with a leading question such as this. That’s because it’s the easiest way to respond and it often gives the questioner the answer they expect.

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