While there’s a seemingly unlimited amount of information online, research and Googling alone can sometimes minimize opportunities for engagement and further exploration into and around issues.
Now it’s great to research by yourself, because great things can come out of focused moments alone. But the opportunity to engage people through genuine interest and dialogue can bring immense clarity and value as well. But when do you ask questions as opposed to…googling it?
Timing is critical. Ever have a person who seems like an open book get pissed about a question? Timing is important. Through experience and awareness, you can determine the appropriate time to ask a question.
Examples of poorly timed questions:
Asking: “Do you want to go golfing?” when you’re at a funeral. Bad timing.
Asking: “Can I borrow $100?” When you haven’t paid back the $100 you already owed. Bad situational-timing.
Appropriateness of the question. The appropriateness of a question may depend on your relationship to the person you’re asking, and awareness of your position. For instance, it’s one thing for a physician to ask a personal question about your health. It may be viewed as inappropriate if a co-worker were to ask.
Be an active listener. If you’re going to ask questions, be prepared to truly listen. Those who ask questions but chatter on when the person is supposed to answer are not truly engaged or interested. When you’re actively listening, and not thinking about what you want to say next, it allows for a more natural flow of dialogue, delving into other aspects, and contributing to conversations in more meaningful ways.
Don’t be an ask-hole. The nicely described Internet definition of an ask-hole is: a person who constantly asks for your advice, yet always does the opposite of what you told them. Savvy question askers aren’t ask-holes. They know that people’s time is valuable and respect when people apply their time, intellect and wisdom to situations. When you are thoughtful around these points, you’ll know what, when and who to ask questions.
Do you have any question-asking tips? Do share!
Cheers to your wisdom & growth!