Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How NOT To Ask Questions

We see examples of how NOT to ask questions every single day. Tragically, most of those bad examples come from individuals who should know better… people whose jobs rely on their ability to effectively uncover the truth (news reporters / sales people / senate committee members, etc.). Here is a brief list of what NOT to do when asking questions:

  • Ask leading questions (that have the expected answer in the question itself)
  • Ask multiple questions without taking a breath (diluting the importance of each question and making it feel like the Spanish Inquisition)
  • Ask questions, and then ignore the answers (by not asking follow-up questions or clarifying what was heard)
  • Ask questions that are not questions (They’re actually nothing more than statements)
  • Ask questions, then (rudely) interrupt in the middle of the answer.
  • Ask mean-spirited questions (to embarrass, inflame or anger)

When done properly, questioning is one of the most powerful forms of communication. Never abuse that power!

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