When I was younger I was absolutely terrified to ask questions in the middle of class. Especially the questions I had about math problems or any other topic that I wasn’t necessarily good at. I now realize this fear of asking questions held me back a lot in my learning, and was actually very detrimental to my success in those classes. For some reason, our first instinct is to think that we will be ridiculed or seen as “stupid” or “dumb” if we ask questions that might seem particularly easy to those who understand a topic- however, we couldn’t be more wrong, thankfully.
Asking questions is a very important part of communicating with others. Here are the top 4 reasons why you should always ask questions:
1) It Provides Clarification
There is no worst feeling than not understanding something. This may be a task that has been delegated to you or even instructions on how to do something. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that by asking a question, the person who delegated this to you will think you are incapable- it’s the complete opposite. By asking good questions that provide you with clarification you will be able to better perform and complete tasks. It’s better to ask the question before you start and have a clear sense of direction rather than be halfway there and realize you’ve misunderstood or have done it completely wrong. Clarification is always good.
2) It Means You are Listening
There’s a difference between listening and actively listening (hearing). We listen to things all day long- noises, music, people talking around the office. But actively listening (hearing) takes time and concentration. If something someone has said to you sparks a question, ask it, or at least write it down to ask them once they are done speaking. This will show that you were paying attention to what they had to say, and provide them with feedback or aid them in explaining what they meant. It goes back to the old but true “I know you heard what I said, but are you listening?“.
3) It Helps Expand on Existing Ideas
Think of it as brainstorming- when someone is talking to you about their ideas, if you have something that can help, why not? By asking them a question or expressing curiosity, saying things like “Have you thought about…” can go a long way and can help you both get to innovative places that one mind couldn’t have come up with alone. Now- be careful not to simply question someone about an idea and come off rudely- make this conversational and a two way channel of communication to expand ideas.
4) It Originates Commitment
Commitment beings with a request.Think about it- if you don’t ask for a commitment, chances are people aren’y just going to volunteer it. Be proactive in how you ask questions, and avoid using lukewarm requests like:
- It would be great if…
- Someone should…
- Do we all agree to…?
- Can you try to…?
- The boss wants…
Be specific in what you ask! That is the key to getting the result you really want- and a commitment.
Asking questions is always a good idea, especially in the innovative world we live in. For us as a video production company, questioning current practices and how we can better them is key to maintaining our productivity as well as being up to date in what we offer. We’re always asking questions- whether in the form of client feedback, or employee thoughts, we try to make things clear and not assume anything. So ask away!
QUESTION: Do YOU have a question for me? Shoot!