Photo credit: Eneas De Troya via Flickr
Are you dying to know what this power is? It’s asking questions. Not just any questions, but the right questions. At the right time. To the right person.
Information is power, right? Mastering the art of asking questions will get you the information you need in life — to get the feedback you need at work to improve and succeed, to get unstuck from a problem, to build relationships, and to lead.
First, remember these basic rules:
Don’t lollygag. Asking questions can sometimes be uncomfortable, but procrastinating won’t help. Get to it. And be cognizant that when you ask for help, you might be taking someone away from their own work. So thank them, and be quick. You want to respect their time.
Get over yourself. Some people feel that asking questions makes them look dumb or highlights what they don't already know. Chances are that it’s actually important, not stupid, for you to ask. Get over worrying how you look, and get on with finding the information you need to do your job.
Be specific. IOpen-ended questions can sometimes reveal information you never knew you needed. But often, we don’t have time to explore. So try to identify exactly what problem needs to be solved and ask the specific questions that will lead to its resolution.
Remember the five W’s: who, what, when, where and why. These are the basics of journalism training, and they come in handy. Just ask Lois Lane. She might have relied on Superman to save her life, but she got the scoop all by herself.
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