What is the purpose of asking questions?
What is your answer? Stop right now and answer this question for yourself before you read on. Why do you ask questions?
I have asked hundreds of people this question. The answer is almost always the same: to learn. And while this is not wrong, it isn’t complete, either. If we primarily use questions to learn, then we are not unlocking their full potential.
Questions are like Swiss Army knives – they can be used for many purposes we don’t naturally recognize. Yet the better we understand how to use questions, the more we can accomplish. As you learn their purpose, you will be able to understand how to use questions in different ways more effectively.
Let’s take a look at the purpose most people come up with: to learn.
Our life is full of questions each day.
- What time are you getting home?
- When will the project be completed?
- Would you like a dipping sauce with your fries?
- Should I go to bed now or read until I fall asleep?
- Why am I stuck in this relationship?
- What would it have been like had I worked a little harder when I was younger?
- Why did I invest in that?
- Is that the best you can do?
- How did I get so lucky to be in this situation?
Not all questions are created to learn. In the next few posts we will explore some purposes of questions. As we learn the varied purposes we can more effectively use questions.