Asking Silly Questions Makes You Smarter
Boy did this catch our eye:
- No one knows everything.
- No one can remember everything they may have learned.
- Collaboration is based on sharing what everyone knows.
- If everyone knows that they don’t have to remember everything, because a colleague or Wikipedia does, they free their minds to work on creative challenges.
- Asking stupid or silly questions doesn’t make you look “dumb” (another euphemism for “I don’t know the answer to this question.”)
So, get over it and ask all the questions that pop into your mind. Here are the benefits:
- You may ask a question that has not occurred to others
- You may ask a question that others are too afraid to ask.
- You may spark a conversation that goes in productive directions.
- You may learn something!
- You may make the person you ask feel smarter about him or herself, which gives them a positive memory about you (as long as you both establish that “there are no silly questions!”)
- If the person you ask doesn’t know the answer, now you have a collaborator in the mission to find that important answer!
One caveat that is important:
Ask questions intelligently. Try to find the answer “online” or in available materials before wasting anyone’s time.
Frame the question clearly. Make it easy for the other person to understand what you need, and connect you with the answer you seek. Write it out ahead of time, if that helps clarify what it is you want to know.
So, go forth and ask! Inject energy and purpose into your tone. Make the most of the interaction to more deeply engage the person you ask.
And let us know how it all goes!