The Third Choice


One night I was about to tack my 8-year-old in.

We usually have a small talk about how the day went, what he thought about the movie he watched, etc. before we say good-night.

In the conversation, I asked him what he wanted for lunch the next day. “Do you want chicken or fish?”

His said “Both!”

I was surprised at his answer because I was expecting to hear either chicken or fish. But, as they were both his favorite, he wisely chose both. Well done!



When we are asked if you want A or B, likely we think there are only two choices – A or B. But isn’t it true that there are more to choose such as “both” or “none”? How simple yet so overlooked this fact is?

Indeed the way to ask a question influences the response of your audience.

This is called questioning skills. There are some types of questions. For example, the way I asked to my child was a funneling question. Although I didn’t do it intentionally I gave him only the choice of fish or chicken. No shrimp, beef or Tofu but just chicken or fish. It can be considered as a closing question, too. I was expecting one out of two so that we could make a quick decision for lunch.

I used a certain type of question without thinking. But you can intentionally use an effective question depending on the situation to direct people’s response as you want.



Well, more accurately, questioning skills only increase the chance to get the desired response. Just like my child’s answer, in reality no matter how well I plan to direct the audience, I should be ready for a surprise!

And I do enjoy such an unexpected happening. That’s the beauty of interaction with people.



There are always the third choice, forth or more. Just we are not aware of them doesn’t mean there is no choice.

I learn so much with children!