Today’s post will build on the previous one on The Power of Asking.
Now that you know its a great idea to seek out people you want to model and just ASK them questions. The next question you may be wondering is: “What should I ask them?”
So, here are 5 tips to Asking Good Questions.
1. Identify what you want to find out.
What is your purpose of reaching out to this person/mentor? Do you wish to find out more about his/her story? or Do you want to ask about details and facts about certain processes? or Do you just want an opinion?
Before you reach out and start a conversation, always know your END IN MIND. With this, you can avoid awkward silences, and a bank mind.
Know Your PURPOSE.
2. Ask OPEN questions.
The classic advice that we tend to forget.
Avoid questions that render a ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ answer. This creates a pause after the person answers and can create an awkward silence.
Go for questions that WILL elucidate thoughts and conversation. ‘WHY’ and ‘HOW’ are my personal favorites. You can also try the other 4 Ws; “WHO”, “WHAT”, “WHERE” and “WHEN”.
3. Do NOT interrupt. Listen. and keep listening.
Remember your PURPOSE and once you have ASKED your question, SHUT UP and listen. Surely you have had bad experiences where a friend keeps interrupting you while you were trying to share an awesome experience. RESPECT the person and LISTEN.
Sometimes, there may be silent pauses as your mentor stops to think, or let you process. Stay SILENT. Think through and process what he has shared. Waiting through these pauses may lead to more tips and tricks as your mentor thinks through and decides to share more. (it would be good if you looked interested too.)
4. Think. Analyse. Clarify.
Building on the previous point. Think through what you have heard. Link it back to your PURPOSE.
Was your original question answered? If not, CLARIFY with the speaker when possible (But remember, do not interrupt)
5. Ask more. Ask deep.
This tip is key to keeping the conversation going, and to bring out more information from your mentor. A conversation is a two-way event where both parties must contribute, to allow the conversation to continue. Do not expect your mentor or whoever you are conversing with, to keep talking on and on (except in some exceptional cases).
Listen attentively and capture main points while your mentor is sharing. Think through what he has shared and ask questions to follow up. Try using ‘WHY’ and ‘WHAT’ questions.
Do you have any tips that I may have missed? Share it with us in the comments below.