Masterclass: The power and art of meaningful questions

Taught by Mary-Alice Arthur (USA) and Helle Solvang (Denmark) who are both experienced storytellers, radio-and-television-hosts and trained within the Art of Hosting – and on a lifelong question quest.

October 4th & 5th from 9.30 am to 4 pm in Copenhagen.

Welcome to Question Quest from Mary Alice Arthur on Vimeo.

The what & why of Question Quest

As children, we were constantly curious.  We faced the world armed only with one simple word, but it turned out to be the most powerful tool we could imagine.  It was the question: “Why?”.  We used this question whenever we could. Sometimes it opened our eyes to how the things worked, and gained us attention and connection. The world was an exciting place.

As we grew up, most of us forgot our curiosity and the powerful tool of asking questions. We needed to get ahead and we began to use questions in a more transactional way “where” or “how”. They got us from point A to point B. They enabled us to get the things we wanted and to find out about situations we found ourselves in. We all use questions, but only very few seem to use them in a way that makes magic happen.

Questions are at the heart of any participatory change process and they are at the heart of leadership, surveying, scientific research, journalism, therapy, facilitation and any form of teaching. Often these professionals are not aware of the potential change-power and possibilities they hold by asking questions and inviting  people into conversations, meetings and conferences. Think for a moment about the fact that each and every one of the conversations that we are having stem from a question. How much time, care and thought are put into creating those calling questions that are at the core of our precious time together?

“We believe that by changing the anatomy of the questions we are asking we can build more meaningful meetings, conversations and stronger relations too. In too many organizations, interactions and interviews we see a kind of question-illiteracy. We wish to raise the awareness and help train the skills that can lead to more powerful questions and much more impact.

Questions are a skill. And an art form. You can get skilled at the crafting of questions using the components of scope, assumption and construction. But there is also a deep art in offering a question that will open a door, give a new perspective or blow out the cobwebs on old or stuck thinking.

That’s why we are offering this Masterclass on Powerful Questions in Copenhagen on the 4-5th October as part of our own long term question quest,” say Mary Alice and Helle.

Who is teaching?

Helle Solvang: Journalist and radio-host at Danish National Broadcasting Radio for 20 years. She has staged numerous conversation and interviewed hundreds of authors, musicians, changemakers and organisers! Art of hosting practisioner and trainer.

Mary Alice Arthur: Fulltime host, adviser and trainer of leaders and changemakers. A story-activist and international steward within The Art of Hosting network of practisioners.

 

Why is Question Quest so important? 

Nadja Pass, Dean of Samtidens Akademi and initiator of Civic Desire (Borgerlyst) and Conversation Salons (Samtalesaloner): “Whenever I host a conversation salon the magic of the questions we ask always surprises me. It’s amazing how efficiently asking the right questions can inspire the participants to share and inspire each other. And sad to witness how boring conversations, work processes and social outings often turn out when we fail to ask each other exciting questions.

I love working with questions myself – but I do it very intuitively. And for a long time I’ve been wanting to explore the nature, anatomy and literacy of questions much more in depth. Thus I joined forces with the two question masterminds – Mary Alice Arthur and Helle Solvang who never seize to amaze when it comes to the art of hosting, storytelling and posing brilliant questions. And I’m proud and excited to announce this two-day Question Quest where I’m looking forward to being a student and participant myself.”

What is the content of the Masterclass?

Over two days we will dive into the questions below and apply them to the actual work situations and cases of the participants. And we will be curious to see how the participants — coming from different professions — can cross-inspire and open eyes for each other.

  • A question is always an intervention. How can it be a constructive and impactful intervention?
  • How do I create a powerful question and a powerful line of questions that are interconnected?
  • How can I plan for a the right questions at the right time while also using my intuition as an important part of a conversation?
  • What is a great calling question behind a meeting and how do I create it?
  • What is the difference between an interview, an inquiry and a conversation? And how can I learn to dance with all of them?
  • How do questions work over the lifetime of an engagement or project?

It is our intention that everyone leaves this masterclass with a set of personal questions that will continue to work powerfully in the time to come.  We will also engage directly with participant case studies.

We will work in a highly interactive and hands on manner.  Please be prepared to work in both small groups and the full group.  And be prepared that there will definitely be more questions than answers over our time together!

Price

7.000 Danish Kroner excluding VAT (25%) (8875 including VAT)
All materials, coffee, tea, fruit and lunch is included both days.

Scholarships: For those of you who are students, currently between jobs or cultural, social or environmental entrepreneurs we offer a few scholarships for 1500 Danish Kroner excluding VAT (25%) (1875 including VAT). If you want to apply for a scholarship you should send an email to nadja@samtidensakademi.dk no later than September 7th. Write a few lines about you work and why it would make a big difference for you to participate in the Question Quest. We will get back to you no later than September 15th to let you know whether you got a scholarship.

When & Where?

October 4th & 5th from 9.30 am to 4 pm.

The masterclass will be at the pleasant, slightly secretive surroundings at “Groundfloor” – situated in a historic warehouse right by Kongens Have (The Kings Garden) where we can go for nice walks during the day. The address is Sølvgade 38F.

How to sign up?

Send an email to Nadja Pass – nadja@samtidensakademi.dk – to sign up. We will send you an invoice and as soon as we receive the payment your participation is confirmed.  We don’t refund the fee if you find yourself unable to attend – but you’re welcome to invite a friend or colleague to participate in stead of you.

Language skills

Please note: The class will be taught in English but Helle Solvang and Nadja Pass – dean of Samtidens Akademi who will also attend the class – are both Danes and can assist Scandinavians if need be.

Written by Nadja Pass

Rektor for Samtidens Akademi