How Do You Ask an Intelligent Question?


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How Do You Ask an Intelligent Question?

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How Do You Ask an Intelligent Question?

From going with the flow to paying attention to their words, here are 11 answers to the question, “What are tips for asking a good question to someone?”

  • Remember, Clarity is Key
  • Go With the Flow
  • Provide Context
  • Pay Attention to Their Words
  • Make Sure It’s an Open-ended Question
  • Answer Their Question and They Will Do the Same
  • Center Your Question on Their Interests
  • Get to the Heart of the Inquiry
  • Give Your Full Attention While Receiving the Answer
  • Be Specific and Relevant
  • Don’t Ask Just to Ask

Remember, Clarity is Key

One tip for asking a good question to someone is to be specific and clear about what you are asking. Avoid vague questions that can be interpreted in multiple ways. Instead, try to ask questions that are focused and that relate to the person’s experience or expertise.

Use open-ended questions that invite detailed responses and encourage the person to share their thoughts and ideas. And always be respectful and courteous in your questioning, listening well to the person’s responses and asking follow-up questions as needed. By asking good questions, you can build rapport and understanding with others, and gain valuable insights and information that can help you in your personal or professional life.

Trey FerroTrey Ferro
CEO, Spot Pet Insurance

Go With the Flow

Being open-minded and flexible during a conversation, which is the essence of the “go with the flow” tip, can be valuable when asking a good question, as it enables you to adapt your queries or follow-up questions according to the information you receive, resulting in a more authentic and fruitful conversation that may provide you with more valuable insights or knowledge. This also conveys your active involvement and attentive listening in the dialogue, encouraging the other person to share more.

Georgi TodorovGeorgi Todorov
Founder, ThriveMyWay

Provide Context

One of the best tips for asking a good question is to provide context before you ask it. This will help the person understand why you are asking this question and what information they need to give in order to answer it effectively. Providing context opens up an opportunity for dialogue, which is key when learning something new or understanding complex topics.

For example, instead of simply asking, “What do you think of this idea?”, contextualize it by saying, “I’m planning on investing my time in this project, so I was wondering what your thoughts are on this idea.” With this approach, you make it easier for them to give an insightful answer, which ultimately helps both of you have a productive and positive interaction.

Kate Wojewoda-CelinskaKate Wojewoda-Celinska
Marketing Manager, Spacelift

Pay Attention to Their Words

Often, in casual conversation, you can pick up details about a person or a situation that may leave the door open to ask them a good question. One of the major components of being a great communicator is being a skilled listener, so listen to the words of the person you’re engaging with to think of a personable question that is sure to bring forth an insightful answer.

There is no shortage of possibilities depending on the topic, and you can likely pick up on some solid details to base your question on, no matter your relationship with the person. Listen for recurring themes or interests, details about their upbringing, and their tone to start, then latch onto a specific sentiment that you feel the person could elaborate on further.

Andrew ChenAndrew Chen
Chief Product Officer, Videeo

Make Sure It’s an Open-Ended Question

Make sure it’s an open-ended question. Yes or no answers to questions are pointless and the conversation will be short-lived. Ask engaging questions that allow for thoughtful answers and a further conversation to be had. From here, it can lead to new questions or ideas that you might want to discuss further.

Lindsay Malu KidoLindsay Malu Kido
CEO, Empower Pleasure

Answer Their Question and They Will Do the Same

Asking questions of others may seem to be a skill we learned before kindergarten. We were curious children and also needy people, so asking questions came naturally. As we matured, so did our sense of self and position, among others.

As adults, we may become cautious, even so self-protective, that asking questions of others, especially regarding sensitive topics, may become an undoable chore. Answer their question first. Consider that the reply, while not sharing very personal facts, may show your character and openness.

Once you have answered a question, you may feel more welcomed to phrase a follow-up reply in that form. Asking a good question to someone is really about formulating the inquiry such that you receive a meaningful reply. Your recipient needs to first respect you, be interested in sharing a reply, and may even want to continue chatting within the same subject track.

Ashley KennyAshley Kenny
Founder, Heirloom

Center Your Question on Their Interests

A good question allows you to speak about something of great interest to you. Whether it’s your line of work, something else you’re passionate about, or even your family, a good question offers you the chance to paint a very clear picture of whatever intrigues you. For example, questions on leadership, associated challenges, and even their setbacks would prove quite fascinating to a leader.

Dipping into their expertise and experience, they can provide an answer that would be no less than a quick lesson in leadership. So whatever question you wish to ask someone, make sure answering it is exciting to them.

Brendan McGreevyBrendan McGreevy
Head of Strategy, Affinda

Get Directly to the Heart of the Inquiry

The person you’re interviewing will give you their best answers if you guide them down a consistent line of questioning, without leaving too much room for going astray.

This can be a careful balance; you don’t want to be so blunt in your questions that you don’t leave room for detail, but you also don’t want to be so loose that it motivates rambling or causes answers to flow away from the topic at hand. No matter what questions you’re asking, try to stick to the topic you want an answer for.

When your interviewee gets too far off-topic, be ready to cut in and wrangle things back on track. This will keep your questions focused and keep you from wasting time or missing important details that might otherwise get lost in conversation.

Max Ade
CEO, Pickleheads

Give Your Full Attention While Receiving the Answer

It is important to remember to give the person you are questioning your full attention while they are answering your question. This requires paying great attention to their response, asking follow-up questions, and elaborating on any topics that may be ambiguous, shape, or form. You may show that you respect their perspective and are interested in learning more about the topic at hand by actively listening to what they have to say.

This can lead to a more fruitful conversation and a deeper understanding of the subject at hand. Before you pose your question, you should first think about the setting in which you will ask it. Is it an appropriate response given the circumstances? Is the individual you’re asking educated on what you’re seeking information on?

Hamza UsmaniHamza Usmani
Head of Content, Believe Money

Be Specific and Relevant

Ask a question that addresses the problem or issue at hand, rather than something too general. Be sure to explain what you are trying to understand—this will help ensure that your question is clear and answerable.

You should also frame your questions in such a way that shows you have done some research or thought about the topic beforehand. This will show that you are genuinely interested in learning more and it will help to make the conversation more meaningful.

Michael DadashiMichael Dadashi
CEO, Infinite Recovery

Don’t Ask Just to Ask

It is important to ask a question with genuine interest and an open mind. Make sure that you are asking questions that can actually lead to meaningful conversations or discussions. Listen to the answers and try to engage with what the other person is saying.

Show that you are genuinely interested in their point of view and be open to different perspectives. Asking a good question is about creating a dialogue, not looking for the “right” answer.

Amy LeeAmy Lee
Medical Advisor, Nucific

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