Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Asking Questions

Doug Rose, in his Lynda.com course Learning Data Science: Ask Great Questions, observed that in most organizations, questions are seen as (and often are) confrontational.

Questions are saved for bad news and to show displeasure.

Questions are used as political weapons.

Questions are interpreted as a sign of ignorance.

Is it any wonder we are afraid of asking interesting questions? Or even asking ANY questions?

I’ve been fortunate to spend most of my career as the History/Education major in a room full of engineers.

The “trainer.”

I treated that role as an opportunity to ask all of the “dumb” questions that everyone else was too afraid to ask.

Starting with school, and through our working life, we have been trained to be afraid of asking questions.

Time to change that.

It starts with us.

  1. Start asking questions, no matter how stupid they seem to you.  Chances are, someone else in the room has the same question.
  2. If you get the eye-rolling, impatient or whatever response from the responder, repeat the following to yourself: “It’s not personal. Their response is theirs.”
  3. Observe when you are impatient with others’ questions.  We have so much information thrown at us on a daily basis, is it any wonder we have to ask the same thing repeatedly to make it stick?
  4. Try not to ask the same thing twice with the same person 🙂  Be fully present for the response you receive.

Questioning / Answering is a form of Giving / Receiving.

Done well, we can build relationships and make each others’ lives a little bit easier.

What question have you asked today?


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