Asking questions cuts to the truth of a conversation. Though they can make us uncomfortable, they allow us to confront the possibilities of the unknown.
Questions can serve as a guide to a new and endlessly fascinating tomorrow and empower us to access deeper meaning in both ourselves and the world around us. And as the Class of 2019 graduates and embarks on the journey of adulthood ahead, the power of questions can lead one to new heights in networking towards that next big step.
Here are 8 tips on how to ask the right questions, and why they’re crucial to enhancing both your business and your life.
Always be a student
Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean the learning stops there! Approach life like the immersive canvas of knowledge that it is. Soak up the experiences that lift you up and give you the platform to grow as a person and a professional.
Keep the wheels turning and stay engaged in the world around you. Utilize your networking skills to enhance your profile amongst both your peers and heroes. Use your resources to glean wisdom from those with more experience.
Link up and band together with like-minded individuals. Connect through social media to gain opportunities - the worst that can happen is someone says “no.” Expand your reach - remember the adage “you’re only as valuable as who you know.”
Curiosity is the innate desire to learn more - Why something is done the way it is and how. Challenge ideas, explore the unknown, and never hesitate to ask for a deeper explanation. If you do this repeatedly, you will find yourself with a robust acquisition of knowledge. This is what learning is made of.
Asking people questions about their lives can unlock fascinating truths about the human experience. People will open up to you once you demonstrate both an authentic interest in their endeavors and the world at large.
The world opens up to you once you open yourself up to it. What is the essence of you? When you ask the right questions, you find the answer.
Don’t be afraid
People want to talk about the experiences that shaped them, even if those experiences are painful. People will engage and show interest when you are engaged and interested, and their reflection of their experiences can give one added strength and confidence in moving towards the future.
The fear of asking will be nothing like the regret of missing an opportunity or a chance to succeed. Turn regret to possibility, and live in the unknown of opening yourself up to surprises that can enrich your life.
There will never be a better time to ask than now. Rather than wonder “what if,” ask yourself: “why not?”
As Sidney Harris once said: “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”
Follow your fire
What excites you? Questions can be key to your own reality. They can identify who you are, clarify your passions and interests, and can make your life a thriving one.
You probably have heard Gandhi’s popular phrase “be the change you want to see in the world. In this case, ask the questions you want to be asked. Don’t be afraid to ask what’s on your mind. You have no idea if it’s been asked yet! And you never know when you’ll stumble into something beautiful...and if others are wondering the same and mustering up the courage to ask themselves.
Sometimes the obvious question is the most important question to ask, so don’t be afraid to ask the obvious question! It may turn out that it needs to be asked at that right moment.
What burns deep inside your heart? Ask! Be a forward thinker and use your creative spirit to drive you towards the space you want to exist in.
Facilitate the conversation
The best way to get a group to talk to each other is to ask about what they care about the most. Instead of asking someone what they “do,” ask them: “What is your passion?” Watch the conversation crack wide open!
Using the right words is important. Lead your subject into a direction that they may not be expecting. Get to the heart of the matter and talk about what moves people. What drives them every day.
Use questions to define a moment. The key to a story is a question. Unlock the cornucopia of the human narrative and discover the truth.
Strive for empathy
Oftentimes the best conversation is when you’re speaking with someone who has a completely different experience from your own. Your experiences come together, injecting both parties with the possibility of gaining new insights and perspectives.
Developing emotional understanding can allow you to put yourself in others’ shoes and open your heart to their experience. When you ask about people’s lived experiences, you reach a higher level of sincerity. Simply asking “What was that like for you?” can lead to wisdom because they have lived through that experience and you haven’t.
Don’t just wing it. Know your subject wholly and completely.
You’ll just blend in with the crowd if you ask questions that your subject has gone through time and time again. Stand out from the crowd and be yourself! Seek to ask someone a question they’ve never been asked before.
Acknowledge the feelings of your subject, but don’t leave out the facts. Your questions will be much richer when you are well-informed.
Don’t try too hard in showing off your intellect - show that you’ve done your research, but be direct. Ask simple questions. Sometimes the best question is “Why?”
Expending unnecessary energy on trying to be “interesting” can be a fruitless chore. Work on being interested rather than interesting - the latter will naturally occur once the former is perfected.
We hope you embrace the power of the question! You have an idea - let it go! Follow your inspiration.