He who asks a question is a fool for 5 minutes. He who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.
Think about a time when you were listening to someone and felt confused or wanted clarification about the topic. Did you hesitate to ask a question? Were you concerned that you would be perceived as ignorant or foolish?
We constantly make conscious and unconscious judgments about everything and everyone in our lives; therefore, we assume those around us are doing the same thing.
The way to break this cycle? Embrace a beginner’s mindset and ask questions. Think of embracing your inner child with a sense of wonder and without fear of being judged. Being curious can improve the quality of our lives and create more opportunities for success.
Here are three simple tips on remaining curious, whether listening to a speaker or engaging in a dialogue one-on-one:
- Utilize Positive Psychology. Choose your words wisely; You don’t want to put the speaker on the defensive. Ask your questions in a curious, supportive way. Convey that you are looking to understand and not create conflict.
- Choose your questions wisely. Ask strategic questions that allow you to see beyond the surface and go deeper. Take a moment to reflect on what you are asking. According to Peter Drucker, a thought leader widely considered to be the father of modern management and famous for working closely with successful leaders, “The most common source of management mistakes is focusing on finding the right answer rather than asking the right question.”
- Listen. Sure, we all love to hear ourselves talk, but in order to think boldly and to learn, we must listen. In fact, to be a great leader or friend — outstanding listening skills are required.