How You Can Master the Art of Asking Better Questions in Business and Leadership
If we want to avoid making costly mistakes or take advantage of new opportunities, we need information. But as we know, not all information is useful or helpful. In this article we will discus how you can be ask the right questions to helpful and informative people.
The bliss of ignorance.
Have you ever asked heard of the idea, “Ignorance is bliss.” Or what about, “What you don’t know hurt you?” I have heard these ideas far too many times.
Unfortunately, if we want to live a successful and productive life, we have to know this simple truth:
What you don’t know can and will hurt you.
Ignorance is painful, especially when it hurts our attempts to grow our business, find new opportunities or just live a happier life. Successful people cannot afford to be unaware, amongst other issues.
The price of limited or incomplete information is high. You may have experienced one of the following costs:
- lost networking opportunities
- poor relationships with your family, friends or other associates
- lackluster love life
- poor mental, physical or spiritual health
- non-existent work/life balance
You are not alone on being hurt by what you don’t know. Just the other day I realized how little I knew about the importance of SEO in terms of online marketing. (True face palm moment.)
Well, today is a new day. We do not have to be in a state of ignorance by choice. We can learn how to ask the right questions so that we can accomplish our goals faster and with less drama.
But, wait! I am scared of asking questions
A lot of us have been raised to not ask questions. Maybe you were raised in a family where people were ridiculed or embarrassed or told to stop, “asking stupid questions.” While you may be years removed from those experiences, the pain still lingers.
As part of my work in understanding clients, I review their life script so that they do not unconsciously sabotage yourself. And yes, unconscious self-sabotage also includes being fearful of asking questions.
If you are fearful of asking questions, remember this: There is no such thing as a dumb question. Asking questions prevents you from making costly errors and saves you valuable time.
Seeking to learn is one of many ways to improve ones confidence.
We have power over who to seek information. We no longer have to rely on selfish and conceited people to get our needs met.
Please do not let the fear of looking bad prevent you from obtaining your goals in business AND in life either. Those who care understand your need to know. Besides, we are all trying to learn and grow, just at different speeds.
How to ask BETTER questions
Now that we know that asking questions are good thing to do, let’s pivot to an important idea: How to ask the BETTER questions. Asking better questions is a valuable skill that can help you gain clarity and insight into various aspects of your life.
This idea of seeking information goes beyond just asking the why’s, how’s, where’s or what’s. We are talking about how to communicate in a way we can eliminate assumptions and quickly obtain clarity.
How to ask the right questions
1. Practice active listening
Before asking a question, make sure you’re fully engaged in the conversation and actively listening to what the other person is saying. This can help you ask more relevant and insightful questions.
2. Focus on open-ended questions
Instead of asking questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” try to ask open-ended questions that encourage discussion and exploration. For example, instead of asking “Do you like your work?” ask “What do you enjoy most about your work?”
3. Use the “5 Whys” technique
When trying to understand a problem or situation, ask “why” five times in a row to get to the root of the issue. For example, if you’re feeling stressed, ask yourself “Why am I feeling stressed?” and continue to ask “why” until you identify the underlying cause.
4. Ask questions that challenge your assumptions
It’s easy to fall into patterns of thinking and assumptions that may not be accurate. To challenge your assumptions, ask questions that force you to think critically and consider alternative perspectives.
5. Seek out different sources of information
To ask better questions, it’s important to have a broad base of knowledge and information. Seek out new sources of information, read books, and expose yourself to different viewpoints to expand your understanding and ability to ask thoughtful questions.
Remember, asking better questions is a skill that takes practice and patience. By incorporating these tips into your daily life, you can improve your ability to ask insightful, meaningful questions that can help you grow and improve in all areas of your life.
You have an obligation, a duty, to have your needs met. Never feel embarrassed or ashamed about needing to ask questions. Everyone is trying to figure things out, just like you.
I hope this information is helpful for you. As always, if you need more help, do not hesitate to consider working with me on asking questions or any other concern you may have.