Have you ever walked away from a conversation and thought, “I wish I would’ve asked more questions.” You don’t want to bypass an opportunity because you did not ask the right questions. Asking questions is a skill, and it is an important one to master. It shows that you care, can spark the exchange of ideas, and build trust. When you are just starting out, asking clarifying, open-ended questions will help get you closer to your goals.
As with any new skill, it is essential to practice. Before starting any conversation, think about what you want to learn. What is your purpose in the discussion? Then identify the right tone, types of questions, and sequence.
For the tone, most situations benefit from a casual approach.
Open-ended questions can go a long way to helping you learn new information. You can also build further questions into your plan based on the responses you receive.
For the sequence of questions, if you are trying to develop a relationship, you may need to ask less personal questions first to build trust. If you are in a confrontation, consider starting with the tough questions, since you don’t know how long the conversation will last.
Asking questions will open doors and allow you to discover new ideas and concepts. It may introduce you to a part of yourself that you didn’t know what there.
As Albert Einstein said, “Question everything.” I couldn’t agree more.