Everyone asks questions. The difference is the reason why. As children, we ask questions because we want to know the answers. When we get older, as we struggle with our insecurities, we ask questions to prove that we know the answers. Teachers ask questions to make sure their pupils know the answers. All purposes generate questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, at the right time, in the appropriate way. First, know who you are talking with. Will it be beneficial to both them and yourself? A mistimed, or misdirected, question can be as detrimental as the answer. Know who you’re asking something of.
Second, know when to ask. Judge the attitude, and atmosphere of the room. If you’re teacher is tired, it may be the wrong time. If they’re angry, wait. If their hearts are sad or broken, dry their tears, and wait for a better time.
Third, know why you’re asking. Do you have an agenda? Is it born out of a need? When you’re hurt, it can formulate questions that generate expected results. When this happens, you’re not obtaining a response, you’re making a statement. One that may be inaccurate, or skewed at best.
Fourth, know what you’re planning to do with the answer. Students ask to learn, teachers ask to instruct, and Doctors ask to heal. Will the answer add to your knowledge? Will it teach others something good? Will it heal you, the other person, or a situation? Know what to do, once you have the why.
Ask questions, but ask the best ones. If your request doesn’t add value, change the question. For example, we all say it, but the phrase, “Are you okay?”, can be improved. “How can I help?” This tells the other person, I know something is wrong, you don’t have to explain, and I’m here for you.
Never stop seeking answers, just know how to properly find them. You don’t have to have all, or even most, of the answers to make an impact. Ask kindly, with the right spirit, with innocent intentions. When you do this, you’ll leave a legacy that no one can question.