5. Reading – Instrumental Categories (tools of persuasion)

a. Read the last section of our text, with the final five categories of questions.

  • Which of the categories comes closest to the one Dale Carnegie was describing in the quotation on the previous page?

b. Which of the final five categories best matches each of these questions?

  • (i) What presents did you get last Christmas?
  • (ii) You’re settling well into working in our company, aren’t you?
  • (iii) When are you finally going to admit that you made the wrong choice?
  • (iv) Am I saying we need to rip up the entire plan and start again? No.
  • (v) Trick or treat?
  • (vi) I see that we’re pushed for time, but does anyone have any quick questions before we move on to the next part of the proposal?
  • (vii) When you say I’m mistaken, are you accusing me of deliberately lying, or are you saying I am ignorant?
  • (viii) Don’t be silly; why would I accuse you of lying?

c. What are the key differences between these pairs of categories?

  • (i) Rhetorical Question and Loaded Question
  • (ii) Closed Question and Forced-Choice Question
  • (iii) Leading Question and Loaded Question

d. Discuss:

  • (i) Which of these categories can be used to trap or coerce a respondent into giving a particular answer?
  • (ii) What is it about the wording of the questions that leads to trickery or coercion?
  • (iii) Can a question be dishonest?

Answers to parts 5a-d: here.

e. With a partner, brainstorm further examples of these types of question. Choose one example per category to share with the class.

f. Listen to your classmates’ example questions and decide which category best fits each one.