Ever been in a position where you have been asked to present something and you know you’re not prepared? Ever been involved in a discussion where you don’t feel you can contribute constructively?
What do you do when you are put in a position to speak or contribute to a discussion and you have no idea what to say?
Ask a question.
Mark Twain said, “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”
So how does question asking stop you from looking dumbfounded and unprepared?
- The focus is immediately taken off you and placed onto the participants, listeners or conversationalists.
- Others feel valued by allowing them to input their ideas and opinions.
- By listening to the answers, you can launch yourself into a conversation, speech or more questions, using their answers as stimulus!
Excited to ask some questions yet?
The tricky part is asking the right question that will encourage people’s input as well as give you some information to work with. Here are some ideas on possible questions. It might be helpful to have a few ready to go if you are faced with a situation like this.
- How have you approached this issue before?
- What is the most important part of this for you?
- What are your initial thoughts?
- Can you elaborate?
These are a couple of examples of open ended questions.
Next time you are in a sticky situation, bring a question to the table and see how good it makes you look!
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