Asking better questions. I know you probably are thinking, “Adam I have been asking questions since I was 3 years old, why would I practice such a fundamental skill?”
My answer to you is quite simply, because it is a fundamental skill of critical thinking. Something that happens to us as humans is that we often feel we have a good handle on something so we stop doing it or practicing it. Questions is one of those things that seems like such a simple and basic thing that we stop learning how to ask better questions.
Now let me be clear here, I truly believe there are no stupid questions. I also know that there are better questions than others.
Have you ever heard the saying, if you want a better answer ask a better question?
In my work as a business coach I have seen this to be true time and again. The quality of questions I can bring to the table for my clients usually determines that quality of results we have. I want to walk you through a quick process that will help you play with and regain your enjoyment of asking questions in different ways.
First, frame a problem: 80% of business will fail in their first year.
Grab your pen this is where we get to work. (Yes I am making you do work, learning a theory isn’t as powerful as practicing it)
First: List all the questions you can think of surrounding this problem. Don’t worry if they are stupid, off topic, brilliant or anything in between. The only rule at this stage NO ANSWERS ALLOWED! Just write down as many questions as you can. Examples can be; Why do most businesses fail? What can we do to ensure they succeed? Etc.
Second: Take all of your questions and re-write them in a different way. What I mean is take all the open ended questions (Question you can’t answer with simple yes or no answers) and reword them so they become close ended (Questions that can be answered by a simple yes or no) Then take all of your close ended questions and change them into open ended questions.
Why do most businesses fail? (open)
Most businesses fail? (closed)
What can we do to ensure they succeed? (open)
Can we ensure they succeed? (closed)
Third: I want you to now take all of the questions you have written down and rank them in term of importance. Literally rank them from the best or highest quality question to the worst or lowest quality question.
Fourth: Get rid of all the questions that don’t make the top three list.
There you have a simple exercise that will get you starting to think in question instead of in answers. In today’s world having answers is not as valuable as it once was. If you want answers head over to a little known website that has every answer in the world here
If you cultivate you ability to ask a better question you will notice improvements in your business right away.