do you have any questions?

By • Apr 20th, 2009 • Category: Features, The Digital Strategist

How a question is asked reveals a lot about the person who asked the question. From a question, I’m able to tell if the person is:

1 / INSECURE and therefore trying to hog as much airtime as possible just so as to impress the rest of the audience

2 / LAZY and perhaps too accustomed to being spoon fed by others

3 / INTELLIGENT
in spite of the ignorance, and isn’t afraid to show it

4 / SUFFERING FROM SEVERE SUPERIORITY COMPLEX and isn’t really interested in the answer to the question as much as he or she is trying to make sure everyone listens to his or her point-of-view

The Insecure ones are pretty easy to spot. Often or not, they are the rookies who have just graduated summa cum laude, injected with excessive idealism, thinking the decaying world awaits their valiant rescue. So eager to impress, they mistake the act of asking a question for intelligence. When your tutor asked you to ask questions, I don’t think he meant stupid questions. As my Executive Creative Director boys will say, “Ask stupid questions, get stupid answers”.

I personally love to tease this lot of questioners. You should watch their faces when I eat into their airtime. It’s my time to speak! I was the brilliant one asking questions! Why are you taking up my time by answering my question with another question!

To contrast, I detest the Lazy with a passion. Especially if he or she is a handsomely paid educated person with Jaeger-LeCoultre for time. My expectation on the quality of questions has increased since the existence of Google. We are extremely fortunate to be living in a world where information is available in a couple of clicks, almost at light speed. Prior to the lovely birth of Google, Wikipedia, Twitter and whatnot, information wasn’t always available. When it was available, it was to be earned, often over a painfully long period of time.  Just about everything today can be Googled under 60 seconds, if you get your search terms right.

That said, I avoid asking any questions I know I will be able to Google on my own. Besides not wanting to insult the speaker-at-large, I think I’d much rather leverage on his or her time to ask questions I know are “ungooglable”. Put it this way – my company didn’t spend $2,000 to send me to a conference only me ask questions I could’ve Googled without leaving my desk.

I live for the Intelligent. The questions that escape their mouths are sharp, challenging, and intimidating even. Ignorance is not a gauge of one’s intelligence and they know that. They aren’t afraid to ask questions derived from knowledge inadequacy but they avoid questions that they could obtain from their own research. The questions they ask, I’ve noticed, are channeled towards fishing out an insight they might be able to use in their own analysis.

Let me illustrate an example.

A Lazy one would ask, “What is Twitter?”

An Intelligent would ask, “Why do you think Twitter is taking the world by storm? Do you see it as a fad, or do you think it is here to stay? Why so?”

Some people ask questions in order to make others listen to them. Such is extremely telling in one who suffers from severe superiority complex. The dialogue goes a little like this:

Ms I-think-I-am-God:
So how do you think Social Media is applicable to B2B businesses?

Pat-the-unimportant: Well, I…

Ms I-think-I-am-God: Let me share my thoughts with you before you answer the question. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah… What do you think?

Pat-the-unimportant: I’m afraid I disagree. The fact is…

Ms I-think-I-am-God: Maybe I wasn’t clear. I meant, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah… What are your thoughts on that?

Pat-the-unimportant:
Well, I…

Ms I-think-I-am-God: I think we can make Social Media applicable to B2B businesses but we have to be careful how we execute the ideas. In fact, maybe I should give an example from a client I have… blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.. Do you think that strategy would be effective?

Pat-the-unimportant: I think you’ve answered your own question.

Ms I-think-I-am-God: What do I know? I’m not the expert! We should hear about what you have to say!

Pat-the-unimportant:

God knows how many times I have fantasized jumping across the table just to struggle cows like these.  Then again, I’m against animal cruelty.

So, do you have any questions?

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5 Responses »

  1. hi Pat..i’m leaving this note in case you meant strangle instead of struggle in the 3rd last line. :)

  2. It isn’t animal cruelty if you are putting them out of their misery and I do suspect it must be a terrible burden for them to walk around thinking that the rest of humanity is beneath them and don’t understand their godly thoughts.

  3. Haha, yeah mandy… I’m famous for my misspellings. Thanks for pointing that one out!

  4. Ms/Mr Always miss-the-point :….er….what is storm ah?

  5. [...] • Asking the right questions for the right reasons (Read more here) [...]

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