Question And Questioner

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One of the most amazing things my father ever taught me was that, ‘There are no stupid questions, only stupid questioners‘. It’s wisdom is eternal and applicable to all spheres of life.

It is to seek to understand, rather than to be understood. Why is that important? Well, to seek to understand is to be willing to ask questions, to listen and to learn, yet only talking and focusing on being understood is to have the almost arrogant view that you already know it all and have nothing further to learn. Whilst it is a natural human need to seek to be understood, you could run the risk of not seeing something as it truly is, clouded by your own single-mindedness.

The only way to truly know something is to completely understand it and the only way to truly understand something is to inquire about it. Or, as these wise individuals noted:

The wise man doesn’t give the right answers, he poses the right questions,’ Claude Levi-Strauss

The important thing is not to stop questioning,’ Albert Einstein

and most importantly,

The smart ones ask when they don’t know. And sometimes, when they do,’ Malcolm Forbes

Forbes noted that it is wise to ask questions when you don’t know something, and sometimes even when you do know something, which I simply love. At first glance, I know that sounds strange but after some pondering we soon realise that some of the reasons, for asking a question when you already know the answer, could be to:

  1. Humbly learn: What you think you know about something may be further enhanced or expanded upon, as you consider every possible aspect or perspective. Also, you may know a lot already but by asking them a question they may give you a little more information, which you did not already have
  2. Help others: To consider other aspects the person may not at first have included, though you know they know it and so you gently guide them into sharing more information to aid other listeners
  3. Help others: To aid those who are listening to the conversation, realise that the person who is speaking has not considered every aspect and that there are gaps in their argument, which need to be considered. This is done with a question, rather than directly and aggressively telling them that they are stupid or by attacking them head on to acknowledge their shortcoming, etc.
  4. Help them: To help them consider another perspective or aspect, by getting them to answer your very targeted question, which will guide them towards thinking about it differently, and to
  5. Uplift them: Asking someone a question brings them into the conversation, making them feel important and valued

The latter, being an invaluable way of either bringing out the best in quiet people or in assisting you to get that person on your side by making them feel important, as you request their valuable input, and for so many other reasons.

Finally, returning to my fathers words…’there are only stupid questioners’.

This may be the case if:

  1. They are stupid because they didn’t ask a question, by trying to complete a task they did not understand and so got it wrong because they did not ask a question to understand properly; or
  2. They ask the same question over and over again and they constantly forget the answer they were given; or
  3. They ask an irrelevant question, just to get the ‘airtime’ and to take centre stage (to look important); or
  4. They ask questions to purposefully cause chaos, descent and to argue for the sake of arguing

Following on from the above…a natural progression would then be to understand the different types of questions one could use, and for that I’d recommend the following Additional reading: by Jamie Birt from Indeed – ’15 Types of Questions’

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Posted by optimumbusines

Lyn has worked in various business areas of large, internationally-recognised, multinational telecommunication corporate organisations since 2004, gaining significant expertise in the business language of each. Her role regularly combined the functions of internal communications, training and change management on large projects and other strategic initiatives. She also has specific experience in: – Creating HR policies and procedures – Talent recruitment lead creation procedures – Process creation, optimisation and re-engineering in AP, sourcing and HR – Migrating and managing SOX and EWC compliance, and implementations – Global and regional Shared Service Centre management and implementations – Bid Management – EcoMetric assessment training and certification procedures – Internship creation and management – Full SAP, IFRS15, Concur and S4 Hana implementations QUALIFICATIONS She has a four-year Higher Diploma in Education from the University of Natal, in secondary (high school) second language teaching. She also has a Bachelor of Arts degree, from the University of South Africa (UNISA), majoring in Psychology. She is a certified EcoMetrist and has an Advanced 120 Hour TEFL certificate. Her combination of international business experience provides practical, professional know-how, combined with excellent qualifications, ensures an effective all-round, expert approach to training.

Reader interactions

3 Replies to “Question And Questioner”

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