The art of getting good answers is based on how to ask good questions. While this may sound silly, it’s really not. Not at all. Knowing how to ask questions is fundamental to getting that information we seek and need.
Our main barrier to accessing good information is the ability to ask good questions. Knowing how to construct them focuses us toward greater knowledge and understanding.
Here are some qualities of good questions:
- Accuracy: get to the point, without beating around the bush, looking for directness.
- Clear: understandable, in line with the previous point of precision.
- To the point: neither more nor less, but just in focus.
- Neither too general nor too specific: extremes are always confusing and not precise.
- Stimulate critical thinking and encourage deep reflection: we already saw in the previous post the importance of this soft skill
- Based on genuine curiosity: we also saw in another recent post that if you are not curious you are unlikely to be creative.
How to ask good questions
Be clear about what you want to know
- It is key to be clear about the objective and purpose of the question
- Specific objectives make it easier to formulate a good question
Conduct background research
- Consult primary and secondary sources
- Define the type of question: factual, analytical or evaluative
Formulate the question precisely
- Avoid banality to facilitate concise answers
- Do not be overly specific so as not to generate a deep bias in the answer
Consider the audience
- Be very clear about who will answer the question
- Tailor the complexity according to the audience’s experience
Remember: Good questions are essential for success and the acquisition of greater knowledge.
Photo credit: LTF