Saturday November 18th 2017

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You Have To Ask

I’m sure you’ve heard it said before that there’s no such thing as a dumb question.

I disagree.  Kinda…

I always tell people that there is indeed such thing as a dumb question.  In fact there is one question that is the king of all dumb question.  You haven’t heard it, I’m sure.  Because to me the real dumb question, the only truly dumb question is the one that is never asked.

Here’s some solid advice that you can apply to both your professional and your personal life in order to become wiser and more successful:  Ask questions!

If you have a question about something, then ask about it.  It’s really the only way you’re going to get the answer.

I guess you could sit around and wait for someone to come along and explain everything to you in the exact way that you need to hear it, but if you do that, you’re going to be doing a lot of sitting and waiting.  Not exactly the formula for success.

The other way to gain the knowledge is to study by reading books and articles, listening to courses on CD, or attend lectures and seminars.  Obviously, these are great ways to become educated, and I highly recommend them in the big picture, but they aren’t the most efficient way to learn if you need an immediate answer, or a whole bunch of answers in a short period of time.

Instead, just ask.

It has been my experience in life and in business, when engaging in conversation with others, that people really like to talk.  People like to share, and people like to help.  Especially when they are able to pass along information about something they really care about.  Think about it.  If someone were to start a conversation with you and ask you about something that you believed in, or were very knowledgeable about, how would you feel about sharing your thoughts and knowledge?  I’m sure you would love it.  And the more questions they asked, the more you would answer.

To illustrate how valuable this method of communication is in the business world, I have said to salespeople many times that if they are in a meeting with a potential client or even an existing customer, they should ask questions until they either have all of the information they need or the other person tells them to “shut up”.

The great part about thinking of it that way is that the other person never tells you to “shut up”, and it allows you to keep asking questions until you get your answers.

Now, there are ways to ask questions in a business conversation that will elicit much better answers.  And, you need to treat a conversation with a potential business partner with the same respect you would a talk with a new acquaintance.

For example, you wouldn’t walk up to a stranger and say, “Hello, how are you?”  Then follow that initial inquiry with something like, “How much money do you make?”

You also wouldn’t approach a person you were attracted to and say, “Hi there.  Will you marry me?”  Not without a little more legwork…

So, in business, you need to use similar discretion and not ask questions of a sensitive or proprietary nature right out of the gate.

Use your head!

Just remember that asking questions is the best, most direct and quickest way to get answers.  And the more answers you get, the better prepared you are for any situation in any aspect of your life.  Applied knowledge is powerful and he or she who asks many questions is wise.

Become a student of life, business, people, places and things.  Ask, ask, ask.  Anything else would be dumb…

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