Closed questions are asked when it comes to asking for facts, details or decisions. They are designed to get the dialogue partner to answer with only a few words, often just “yes” or “no”. Closed questions begin with a verb or auxiliary verb: “Can I help?”.
Closed questions are designed to guide a conversation in a certain direction. For example, sales personnel is trained to use rhetoric and the questioning technique of the closed question in order to persuade the customer to buy something.
The advantage of closed questions is that complicated issues can be simplified and concentrated on one point using this technique. The person asking the questions can use this technique to give structure to the conversation and guide the dialogue partner towards making clear statements. That, however, also represents the disadvantage of this technique. In the context of a conversation with closed questions, the respondent might feel under pressure to make a clear statement and there is little room to give a more detailed reasoning behind that decision.
Therefore, closed questions should be used in a relaxed conversation setting where the dialogue partners know each other and the topic well. A closed question can lead to the escalation of an already tense atmosphere.
Closed questions are often used in questionnaires because the respondents can give conclusive statements.