10 Ideas for Asking the Right Questions
In school we're taught how to answer questions, but a lot of situations in life require you to know the right questions to ask before you can find a solution.
1. Understand the Issue Dealing With So You Can Ask the Most Pertinent Question for Your Situation
If you don't understand your issue well enough, asking the wrong question may send you on a wild-goose chase until you realize the issue you're actually trying to resolve.
2. Try to Direct but Not Too Narrow in the Scope of Your Question
For example, if you have an issue with your central air conditioning, don't automatically assume the problem is with the coolant. You're just going to be frustrated when the maintenance person says there's nothing wrong with the coolant when the actual issue might be debris blocking the fan.
3. If Possible, Word the Question in a Way That the Person You’re Asking Will Want to Answer It
It helps if you can appeal to the other person's ego whenever you can.
4. Ask Follow-up Questions for Clarification
You might not get the full story from just your initial question. Make sure to ask follow-up questions for additional context and clarification.
5. Know When to Ask a Direct Question Versus an Open Question
Certain questions require a simple yes or no answer. Other questions require more context when explaining an answer.
6. Be Mindful of Tone
Sounding too confrontational might make the other person more evasive.
If you're in a conversation, fully taking in what the other person is saying will help you formulate better questions to ask.
8. Don’t Be Afraid of Appearing Foolish
Getting accurate answers for your issue is worth it.
9. Don’t Interrupt the Other Person While They’re Speaking
This is unless person is clearly being evasive when trying to answer you and you need to direct the conversation back to the main issue at hand.
10. Don’t Be Afraid of Using Silence
Many times, the other person will be more forthcoming with information if you stay quiet and let them speak after you ask your question.