Tips for asking better questions

HowCanI?8BallWhat makes questioners different from other people? Find out 8 things that set them apart. 

 

1Ball

Questioners pay close attention to the world around them. They watch and try to notice details others miss. They listen closely to what others are saying, which helps them understand what questions to ask.

2ball2Questioners don’t assume or accept (as in, “that’s the just the way things are.”). They ask, “Why are things that way?”

3BallQuestioners are unafraid to ask the most basic questions—even if some people may think those questions are obvious or naïve. Asking the fundamental questions can help the questioner to challenge assumptions.

4BallQuestioners dig deep. They use follow-up questions (such as asking “5 whys”) to get to the real heart of the matter.

5BallQuestioners use their imagination to pose “What if” questions that open up fresh new possibilities and ideas. (What if we look at this upside down? What if we combine X and Y?)

6BallQuestioners share their questions with others—to get help and ideas from people who are interested in the same question. (How might we figure this out together?)

7ballQuestioners don’t always expect to get answers right away. Sometimes you must “live with” an important question—and spend time thinking about it, working on it, grappling with it.

8BallQuestioners move from asking to action. Start with Why, move to What if, and try to get to How—as in, How can we do something, anything, that will help us get a little closer to an answer?

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About the Author

Innovation expert and questionologist Warren Berger has studied hundreds of the world’s foremost innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative thinkers to learn how they ask questions, generate original ideas, and solve problems. He is the author or co-author of eleven books, including THE BOOK OF BEAUTIFUL QUESTIONS: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead, the bestseller A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, and the internationally acclaimed GLIMMER, named one of Businessweek’s Best Innovation and Design Books of the Year. His writing appears regularly in Psychology Today, Fast CompanyHarvard Business Review, and The New York Times. He lives in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @GlimmerGuy and subscribe to his blog posts.

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