The latest Internal Audit Network webcast on ‘questioning techniques for internal auditors’ is available now.
As an internal auditor you deal in information. To get to the information which will allow you to help your internal client, you need to pose questions – and that’s where the trouble can start.
In this world there are three common types of responses when posed a question:
the defensive: why are they asking me that response
the unexpurgated: let me tell you all I know and you don’t need to know response
the answer: an answer to the question you ask.
None of them is perfect. The defensive response turns you into an interrogator, the enemy; the unexpurgated response means you are in danger of switching off before you get what you need to know, and the answer response answers only the question you asked which means the information is limited to your question.
So what is the ‘right’ question to ask? It depends on your client. And that means you need to think through their mindset before posing your question and to be flexible in how you phrase it. You need a personal library of questions that will access the same information. The right question matched to the recipient is dynamite: it blasts open the information you need and creates a good working relationship. It can even turn around an interview that has started off badly.
On 2 February 2015, Jane Allan of Jane Allan & Associates provided the keys to set up your question library and the tricks to sidestep the three answer styles and get your hands on what you need to know.