To Get a Good Answer, You Need to Ask the Right Question

The right question will always help you get a good answer. If you don’t know how to ask, you will get the wrong answer. It’s not about the type of questions – open or closed, as if they were zippers or something, but it depends a lot on the extent a question can somehow guide the answer, on the context and a lot of other factors.

right question

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The word goes that two friends were carrying out a discussion and one of them was upset that the village pastor allowed only one of them to smoke. The first asked the pastor if he can smoke and the pastor replied: “Absolutely not. It’s a terrible sin!”

Here is the first manipulation lesson, when the other guy told his friend arrogantly: “You are stupid, you have no idea how to handle this! I asked the pastor the same question and his answer was yes.

– Father, you know, I hope, how faithful I am and how often I come to church?

– Yes, son, I do know!

– Father, do you know how often I pray?

– Yes, son, of course I do!

– Father, do you think that while praying I can have a smoke from time to time?

– Yes, son, of course you can!”

What do you need to take into consideration in order to receive better answers:

  • Clarify for yourself the purpose of the question. What information do you wish to learn by asking?
  • Make sure the person you are asking is the right person;
  • Do some personal research on the topic before asking;
  • Ask yourself whether the timing is right for that particular question. An unfortunate context may tear apart an excellent question;
  • Don’t start making assumptions before hearing the actual answer;
  • Adapt the tone and language according to the respondent;
  • Simply say so if you don’t understand an answer;
  • Learn to keep quiet while waiting for the answer, don’t interrupt;
  • What other question can be asked after the first answer? Often times, the initial answer may be too vague and not really helpful; a more in-depth question is useful as long as you don’t turn everything into an interrogatory.

When you wish to achieve something you have two options: simply take what you want or ask if you may take it. A good question makes the difference.

“Judge a man by his questions, not by his answers.” Voltaire

Let’s conclude on the same friendly note:

– Can you lend me a thousand euros?

– For how long?

– For as long as I don’t kick your…

Good luck asking!

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