14 November 2017

Ask Questions, Please!

If you learn one thing from Problem Solving Leadership Workshop, it has to be asking questions. There are lots and lots of information available out there. And not all can be transmitted to you in at once. Even if it could be, the order of transmitting the data might not be aligned with the order that you are familiar receiving them. There are so many things that could go wrong, which could potentially add to the complexity of effective communication. For an example, it could be the words that are being used, they might not be in your vocabulary, or there are words that you are not commonly using it. You might need to think about the semantics when hearing those words, which will result in losing the threat of the conversation and transmission of data.

You would ask, then what shall I do? What’s the best1 course of action here? The best way is to Ask Questions2, in your own time and your own format. The person replying to you might get tired of answering you, being polite helps a lot. If they have other occupancies in mind, seeing you as a polite person, their inner voice pushes them to respond back to you, or at least not ignore you.
When you are asking questions to have a more effective communication, you ask it at your own pace, and with the style, you have or choose to use. You might be more of an explorer, to ask one question and wander around to find out more information about yourself. You might be the chatty person, that want to get all the information by having a conversation with a person. You might be unique, and not any of these; surprise surprise!
Any style you might have, you always will benefit from asking questions, and keep in mind follow those with a "Please". You can be polite other ways, such as asking "Would you mind ..." or "If it's no bother you can you ..." etc. But what's the point of using more words when you can simply use "Please" and carry the same semantics? "Please" will send the message very directly. It transmits the message to any person, even a little knowledge of English language. Everyone knows what "Please" means and how to respond to it.

Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

Let me tell you a personal story. I met Jerry as a result of taking PSL course. I purchased two books from him. I had with me the one that I already read and enjoyed, “Becoming a Technical Leader”. He asked me which book I want him to sign. I handed him the "Becoming a Technical Leader". But I wanted all to be signed, “The Secrets of Consulting: A Guide to Giving and Getting Advice Successfully”, and “Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method” too.
Guess what I did? I asked him, and Jerry signed all three books! Imagine if I didn't ask him, I probably never had the chance to have all of them signed. He also could have turned me down, but at least I have asked. When you ask, there wouldn't be any regrets no more. If I hadn't asked, I would have asked myself probably for the rest of my life about it. How many times will you get the chance to meet such a great person in your life to let is pass.

I’d like to practice my questioning skills If you don’t mind. It's now my time to ask a question from you. Can you think of a situation that you could have asked the question and you held back? What were the consequences? Please share it with us.


1-There is no best! We are in a complex domain! Link to the Cynefin blog post of mine! 
2-If there is only one takeaway learned from PSL, would be Ask Questions! 

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