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Bryan Edwards

ABC Training Solutions - off shelf training materials

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Questioning the TED way


Being able to ask good quality open questions is an essential skill in all jobs - from a manager helping a staff member with a performance issue through to a customer services assistant diagnosing a customer service problem. (I wish somebody would tell radio interviewers this when they persist in posing closed or leading questions!)

Most people have heard of the 5 W's and the H way of asking open questions (What; Why; When; Who; Where; How).

"The wise man doesn't give the right answers, he poses the right questions"


However there is another way using TED:

+ Tell

+ Explain

+ Describe

For example:

- Tell me what happened

- Tell us how you produced that report

- Tell me about something that went well this year

- Explain what the customer said when they phoned

- Explain your idea for improving the system

- Explain what you mean

- Describe what you would like to see as a solution

- Describe how you would solve the problem

- Describe the customer's attitude when they came in this morning

One manager who attended our training said a week later that he had been 'tedding' all week!

This content is drawn from our 1 day Communication Skills course materials.

Bryan Edwards is Managing Director of ABC Training Solutions Ltd ( which delivers training and markets a range of fully-designed, ready to deliver workshops, self study packs and other training exercises for the busy trainer. He can be contacted on 07747 602215 or

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Bryan Edwards - off shelf training materials

Read more from Bryan Edwards

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