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Learn to Ask the Right Question

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Posted 16 December 2010 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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• Bespoke in-house training.
These can be tailored to your specific needs.
• Open training courses at locations near you.
You may find the following will help with the development of your communication skills training.

Learn to ask the right question

Become more conscious of when you are asking a good question

The human mind has evolved to answer questions.
And the first question is this: "How can I survive?"
For 100, 000 years that question was the sole preoccupation of every man, woman and child.
But in 2014, in Western Europe, your basic survival needs have all been taken care of.

So, presumably you already have:

  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Access to clean water
  • Sufficient food

Today, your brute survival needs are not the problem.

So now, your mind is free to turn its powers to the solution of other more abstract questions.

AND THIS is where the fighting starts!

Because there are many good questions, for which the search for an answer, can move you forward.

And there are many BAD questions, that don't need an answer: In fact, even asking the question is a mistake.

I call these questions: KILLER Questions

A killer question is a question that presumes a falsehood, or has no valid answer, or the answer itself is a waste of time or counterproductive.

Killer questions are "killer" because, even in the act of answering them, you tend to make life WORSE for yourself and others.

What are examples of killer questions?

There are a great many. Here are some candidates:

  1. I wonder what happens if I press this?
  2. How many beers can I drink, and still drive home safety?
  3. How can I cheat and not get caught?
  4. What time is Eastenders on tonight?
  5. What religion are you? Protestant or catholic, (Sheik or Sunni), (Muslim or Christian)
  6. What race / nationality, are you? African or European, Black or White. Pakistani or Indian?
  7. How can I get something for nothing?

There are many other killer questions:
Can you think of any?

Remember the definition:
A Killer question is a question if, in the act of answering it, you tend to make life WORSE for yourself and others.

In the light of the above:
We make the following four recommendations:

  1. Become more conscious of when you are asking a killer question.
  2. Become more conscious of when you are hearing someone else ask a killer question.
  3. Be wary of any actions that you take, that are consistent with the answer to a killer question.
  4. Be suspicious of being asked, by another, to act in a manner consistent with, the answer to, any killer question.

WARNING: Many killer questions are not asked explicitly: Many killer questions are ASKED ONLY BY IMPLICATION. That makes points 3 and 4 very difficult to implement.

To stay ahead, you gotta stay alert!
Obviously, the opposite of killer questions are Good questions.

Good questions are good, because in the act answering them, you make life better for yourself and others.

What are examples of Good questions?

Again, there are many.

Here are some candidates:

  1. What is the most valuable use of my time, right now?
  2. How can I add value, today, to as many people as possible?
  3. What can I read tonight, to make myself more educated?
  4. What can I eat at lunch to make myself healthier?
  5. What can I do to assist others, to make themselves feel stronger?
  6. What can I say to empower this person?

There are many other good questions:
Can you think of any?

Remember the definition:
Good questions are good, because in the act of asking them, you tend to make life better for yourself and others.

In the light of the above:
We make the following additional four recommendations:

  1. Become more conscious of when you are asking a good question.
  2. Become conscious of when you hearing someone else ask a good question.
  3. Be eager to take any action that is consistent with the answer to a good question.
  4. Be inspired when asked, by another, to act in a manner, consistent with the answer, to any good question.

Your homework

Your homework is to decide upon three of your own "good questions".

In fact: make that: three
GREAT QUESTIONS!

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