Two Permissions for Asking Questions

When you notice that something seems off, even slightly, then ask 'why' and keep asking until you get to the right answers. Sounds simple but it is incredibly hard to do, and most people just let things slide instead of asking questions. Here is why:

Sometimes we are afraid of sounding stupid. What if my question isn’t well informed?

While I am in discovery sessions with clients I like to start the day saying, “I need to ask for permission to ask you stupid questions, because I won't know if my question is stupid until after I've asked it and we've explored it." Maybe the question is stupid. No problem, lets move on. Maybe it is the question that uncovers the biggest piece of gold in the entire session. I have no idea. And trust me, I ask plenty of stupid questions to get to a good one.

Sometimes we are afraid of people getting defensive. Will you get tired of my incessant questioning?

I also start discovery sessions asking the client for permission to ask a lot of tough questions. Here is how I phrase it, “I’m on your side but I’m going to be asking hard questions. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you, in fact, in means the opposite. Sorry in advance if I come across as a dick." Usually the client is glad they have someone aggressively questioning them and at the end of the day the feedback is usually that they wished I had questioned more. 

The Gateway Drug of Questions

“What happens next?” is a simple question.

Any story makes you ask it. It is a powerful hook. What is going to happen to that guy who just lost his temper in front of his colleagues at work. What is going to happen to the girl whose mother just died?

“What happens next?”  Well, keep on with the story and you'll find out. 

“What happens next?” is the gateway drug of questions because now we are warmed up and ready to start asking  deeper questions like, "how do I find happiness?" or "what does it mean to love someone?". If you hang with the story those questions will get answered too.