What kinds of questions help people articulate their interests?
Don’t ask for their proposed solution (this is probably what they will tell you first off); first find out what they care about. Ask “why”, not asking for justification of position, but for needs, hopes, fears, desires behind their position (from Fisher & Ury). For example, a person may be worried about being able to provide for their family, disrupting their quality of life, or losing land that has been in their family for generations.
- What concerns/worries/upsets/bothers/frustrates you about ____ (the rig on your neighbor’s property)?
- What is your basic concern in wanting ____ (to ban drilling; to lease your land)?
- What do you fear might happen if ____ (gas companies don’t test water before drilling)?
- What do you hope will happen if ____ (truck traffic is restricted)?
- What do you really care about?
- What is important to you about ____?
- What will [your solution] help you accomplish?
- What leads you to believe that [your solution] will get at what you need?
What kinds of questions help people identify solutions?
Once people have articulated their interests, pose questions that can help them identify multiple ways (solutions) to meet those interests (reframing).
- Position question: How much of the land will be available for drilling?
- Interest question: What kind of zoning would help us create jobs while preserving the quality of our streams and water supply?
- Focus is on meeting underlying needs of all parties.