Our entire life we are searching for answers. But seldom do we find them. Ever wondered why is it so? Maybe we are asking the wrong questions.
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It’s like you want to know when is the next flight to Paris. But you are asking the receptionist at airport’s help desk about all the flights going to France. In such a case, you cannot expect to get the correct answer. Can you?
That’s why they say asking question is not important. It’s important to ask the right question.
And just like everything else you can make it a habit to ask the right questions by practice. How can you do that? Here are some tips that might help -
Focus on understanding the problem first
You cannot use a key to unlock the door as long as you know the right lock where it fits in. same is the case with solution. You can never reach to a solution unless you understand the problem first.
To ask the right question, you must first ask yourself whether the problem is clear to you or not? That’s what they call as probing in telecalling industry. The telecallers are trained on how to ask the right questions i.e. how to probe. And, the first step in doing that is to rephrase the problem told by the caller. And, then begin with the probing.
Probing narrows down all the possible wrong directions in which you might head before getting to the real problem. This can save you from not just hassle, but a lot of time wastage as well.
Put yourself in other person’s shoes
I’m a big fan of the movie series Pirates of Carribean. And an even bigger fan of Captain Jack Sparrow. Whenever someone asks me how am I able to handle problems at office so well I refer them to this quote by Jack Sparrow in the movie — ‘The problem is not the problem, it’s your attitude about the problem.’
Half of the problems get solved in an automatic manner, if we put our self in the other person’s shoes. Just because you are the the manager doesn’t mean you can boss around people and ask questions. If you do, trust me it won’t be long when you will be at the receiving end of those questions.
Before scolding someone for a mistake or delay, try to understand the whole point of view. Rather than blasting off go for a gentle alternative like ‘Is everything fine? Why did you make the mistake?’
Try to become an active listener
One big reason why we are not able to understand the problem is because we don’t listen actively. Communication is a part that involves two actions — speaking and listening. But, majority of the people have a preconceived notion about things. The added pressure of getting things done quickly does not help either. As a result of this, we don’t listen and respond. We just talk.
This leaves the person at the receiving end of your question flabbergasted. And that’s not a good sign. This only shows your lack of interest in that person’s point of view. It reflects that you are not paying heed to what he/she has to say. This can lead to situation of misunderstanding and personal disapproval within the team.
Before you start questioning your team members, be sure to listen what they have to say first.
When in trouble, asking wrong questions may land you deep in trouble. If you inculcate the habit of asking the right ones, you can avoid getting stuck in troubles in the first place.
Try out these three simple steps and be sure to see a positive change in your life!
‘Gift yourself a solution for all your work troubles. Switch to ProofHub.’
Vartika Kashyap is a seasoned marketing professional who is an expert in digital marketing and entrepreneurship. She’s been featured among LinkedIn’s Top Voices for the year 2016. She currently runs the marketing team at ProofHub — a project management software for teams of all sizes. Connect with Vartika on LinkedIn, Medium and Twitter.
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Originally published on The Huffington Post