From Socratic Dialogue to Communication Brief

This form of inquiry is based on asking questions to activate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. The basic form is a series of questions intended to discover the reality, truth and/or perceptions of a subject. It’s exploratory in approach. You not only nail general characteristics but also enable the ‘information gatekeeper’ to discover their own deeper understanding of the subject. Socrates was a master devil’s advocate (and sentenced to death for it in the end) which makes his method inherently adversarial — there is persistence, probing and (sometimes) courage in the act of digging deeper rather than settling for answers at face value. So you’ve got to project a genuine desire to want to know for the benefit of the one being questioned; this usually comes in the form of listening. It helps to be more like a psychotherapist than an investigative journalist.