“What would you ask if you had just one question?” Joan Osborne, “One of Us“
I have been mindful of questions lately.
We all need to own our part in the asking. We can’t get frustrated at the answer received until we examine the quality of the question pitched.
We all have questions; we are all questioned.
If you seek a simple answer, ask a simple question.
What time does the event start?
How many people are signed up for the workshop?
When did you arrive in town?
How was your day?
If you seek an answer with more depth, ask a more thought-provoking question.
Tell me something you experienced today.
What could be added to make this report more robust?
What is your desired state/goal and what resources do you need to get there?
What are some of the contributing factors to your success on this project?
Hollywood producer, Tom Shadyac, headed out on an epic, global journey to ask a big question, “What is wrong with the world and what can we do about it?” I highly recommend the documentary “I Am“. Watch and absorb the answers.
My awareness of the design and intent of a question deepened during my Cognitive Coaching training. We were taught to listen for what is “under the surface” and carefully select questions to draw out the person’s hidden depths. I endorse the Thinking Collaborative and encourage you to explore what they have to offer.
Two blogs that I found interesting on the topic of questioning:
How to Cultivate the Art of Asking Good Questions, Washington Street Journal
163 Questions to Write or Talk About, The New York Times
Thoughts on Questioning;
Asking more than two questions of some, particularly teenagers, might result in eye rolling and encourage accusations of being “grilled.”
Less is more! Plan carefully, dig deeply, and listen attentively.
After all, your question may be the very growth catalyst that a colleague, business partner or friend has been seeking.
What would you ask if you had just one question?