This blog is part of a serie. You can find the first one here.
Clarify the context. Understanding is key.
Asking questions is one of the most important things that one can do. What’s that say? If you don’t ask, then you don’t get. This say simply means that you have only to lose not asking questions.
When you are starting something new such as a new job or a new project or a new task you need time to gain an understanding of your new role, of the company and the people and departments involved, of the new project or task. It is normal that you need to learn more and it is also very important that you start to list the things that you need to ask so that you can start to get clarity.
And how do you help yourself gaining that understanding? By asking questions, of course! And by taking your time to think about what questions you want to ask.
A Beginners Mindset
I find that one of the most important questions you should always ask is “Why”? Why is that project important to the company and/ or to your stakeholders?
If you understand the why, then you are one step closer to grasp the bigger picture and hence give a more meaningful contribution. And of course, understanding the why will also lead you to better understand what the next question to ask is.
Not a one-time thing
It is important to keep in mind that this process of asking questions should not be limited to only a one-time meeting. It should also not feel like you are interrogating someone, because otherwise you won’t get what you really need. No one likes to feel like they are being bombarded by question after question.
It should feel more like you are having a conversation and it should be also an ongoing conversation to make sure that there is a mutual understanding. How do you get it right? Well, practicing! Embedding this into your work and practice and practice again! A way that works for me is that I prepare my meetings and I also take notes of things I want to ask or I want to share and if a question pops in my head I write it down and then introduce it when I get the chance.
You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed of being that one person asking questions in the room. It can feel a bit uncomfortable sometimes but I reassure you, it is never enough!
Moreover, you should think that asking those questions most likely is not only beneficial for you but also for the rest of the audience, because most likely someone else was wondering in their mind about what you just asked but did not talk out loud.
Indeed, it is also important to ask questions in the right way and I find this article from Harvard Business Review a very good reference on the matter.
Please, continue to follow this blog serie if you are interested to drill down more.
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