Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Asking Questions Effectively and Making the most of the Answers. A Personal Guide to Asking Questions

Asking questions is a tricky road. They are not the only way to obtain the information you require,  but often we get into a mindset where we instinctively ask a question as soon as it comes up in our mind. Asking questions almost always influences your image in the other person's mind. The perception that they take away from your questions and the way you ask them is not always what you expect.
Here are a few tips I've amassed from my experience.

  1. Never ask a question in vain. When you ask a question be ready to accept its answer as new information, then your only duty at that point is to assimilate that information in your mind, if you go about asking a question expecting a certain answer. Then you shouldn't have asked that question in the first place. It will not only be a useless endeavor, but it will also give the other person the impression that you are just looking for an excuse to argue.
  2. Exhaust all sources of information before asking another person.“Google it!” is the command to give yourself when you are about to ask someone something. Google doesn't judge, it doesn't argue and it is always present.
  3. Make it easy for the other person to answer your question. Ask the question to clarify your confusion, don't try to explain your confusion. You want to cut your own confusion not ask a confusing question.
  4. Never ask a question of someone who you don't respect enough to take their answer respectfully and consider it a contribution and be thankful. If you consider the other person a fool or not intelligent enough, then asking them a question makes you a bigger fool.
  5. Be specific and concise. Don't drag your question on. Over explanation is counterproductive in this case. Don't expect that the more you explain the finer tuned an answer you will receive. It's your job to get a specific answer and then fit it inside your head to answer the bigger question. If you don't understand your question well enough, no answer will be clear enough.
  6. Realize what you need to know to answer the bigger question yourself, instead of asking the bigger question itself.
  7. Understand that a lot of the information present in the world (Apart from the facts) has more or less personal perspective mixed in. In order to get the most satisfaction from the answer you need to mull over the acquired information in your own mind. Reach a conclusion yourself. Expecting ready made opinions is a sure fire way to ignorance.