(714) 220-1882      
Stress Management for Living, Teaching, & Parenting

Ask Questions to Take Control

Ask questions

If you want to have more control in situations and conversations, try asking more questions. One of the key ideas I suggest people write down during my seminars is this: “The person who asks the question controls the conversation or the situation.”

Let me demonstrate how this works. You walk into a store and the salesperson asks, “How are you today?” Isn’t there a natural tendency to answer?

Here is another situation. A friend with whom you are talking suddenly asks you a question. Do you stop and answer the question or do you continue with your monologue? Chances are you stop and answer the friend’s question.

If you want to discipline a student or child, control the situation by asking a reflective question. Never argue with a young person.

The same principle holds true for influencing anyone; be the person who does the asking. Learning how to ask reflective questions is a skill anybody can learn and is one of the most effective approaches to influencing other people.

The other day when I walked onto an airplane and the airline attendant asked, “How are you today?” I responded, “How would you like me to be?” He said, “Great!” And I said, “That’s how I am.”

When I walk into a store and the salesperson asks, “How are you today?” I respond with a question: “How are you?”

Be the person who asks the question. You will be more effective while having fun.


Teaching, parenting, and simply living can be stressful at times. That’s why I wrote my newest book Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. If you’re looking for stress management advice, check it out. The book is available as a print book (Buy one and get a second copy free to give as a gift), as an eBook, and as an audio book at PiperPress.com.

Dr. Marvin Marshall
Phone: 714.220.1882
Dr. Marshall's Stress Management Monthly Newsletter and his Stress Management Video Tips covers topics on how to reduce stress in daily life, work, and relationships. SUBSCRIBE NOW
Piper Press
Phone: 559.329.5232