The Q is Quality stands for Questioning. As a good auditor, not only should you be asking the appropriate questions, you also need to have the right technique in asking questions.
Below are my 10 tips to surface the facts where things have gone terribly wrong or where improvements can be made.
1) Be clear why you are asking the question; what is it you are hoping to achieve?
2) Be prepared to explain why you are asking that question
3) Be prepared to rephrase or expand a question if the initial answer you receive is not what you want
4) Consider who you are speaking to and modify your vocabulary and tone of voice appropriately
5) Use open questions (Kipling’s six serving men – What, Why, When, How, Where and Who – and show me) to probe and establish facts
6) Avoid asking leading questions, e.g. ‘surely you do not do that…do you?’, or end up answering your own question!
7) Closed questions are useful for verifying e.g. ‘So you completed the User Requirement Specification before starting the Design Qualification?’
8) Ensure the auditee understands the question. Look out for blank or confused faces!
9) Ask the same question, or similar, to different people to check for consistency in response
10) And remember the power of silence.
Written by: Sanjay Nadarajah, GMP/GDP Consultant