“Asking the right question can unlock the right information.”

“Asking the right question can unlock the right information.”

Questions are particularly powerful things. They can inspire self discovery, explore our surroundings, and turn the wheels of change. Questions are rooted in one of the fundamental human qualities: curiosity. And they can help in giving you the insights you may need.

Before you ask a question, spend a brief moment to think about how it’s worded and what your intention is. With a little bit of planning and information, you can make sure that the questions you ask are informed, educated, and result in the same type of answer.

Question Smiley

Paradoxically, you need the right information to ask the right kinds of questions. This often applies when you’re seeing a professional who may have expertise in a certain area. They may not volunteer every bit of information that you need to know. So the onus is on you to ask the right question. Doing a little bit of research beforehand can help narrow the scope of your question so that it is direct, straight to the point, and results in the most valuable answer possible.

This same logic applies to dealing with people. People may not open up by default, but asking the right question can open their world up to you. Often, to target the right question can require multiple, more general questions before it. As a person answers, you can slowly narrow the scope of the question based on their replies. This “cone” like approach not only helps build rapport, but can be a very valuable tool for social interaction.

We don’t always have the luxury of time on our side. But when you do (for example for a job interview), it’s definitely worth it to spend a little time developing the right question to get a meaningful answer, while displaying your own knowledge and interest at the same time.

Additional Food for Thought

The power in asking the right questions – Globe and Mail

The Art of Effective Questions – Coaching for Change

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