Like other questioning techniques, Clean Language has been designed to help someone really engage with what’s unique about his or her own experience. Whereas a technique such as appreciative inquiry or motivational interviewing deliberately (and usefully) put attention on specific aspects of an experience or a belief, what sets Clean apart from other questioning styles is that the Clean questions are very open to all aspects of someone’s experience. As well, because the Clean technique involves only using a client’s exact words, people being listened to very often feel valued and properly heard. In any context where it’s important to capture the essence of what’s being communicated, the Clean questions help to elicit and develop someone’s information; using a client’s exact responses also means that you can convey a very accurate understanding of their answers.
This is one reason why Clean questions can be used, very effectively, to gather information in a clear an unbiased way. Market researchers, journalists, project managers, consultants and analysts are all recognising that the Clean 12-question system really helps minimise the questioner’s assumptions. And staying Clean while, for example, receiving feedback, has been shown to make gathering lots of diverse opinions up to 50% faster. By reporting someone’s response exactly as it was given, there is no need to reframe or interpret it. Gathering Clean feedback also means that you can present your report fully confident of having got those ‘verbatims’ – Clean quotes – straight from the proverbial horses mouth!