Sometimes we are pressed by the need to ask basic questions about information that we have slipped during our learning process in a research, internship or a career. Asking such questions to even our colleagues would make us look like novices while we are not. It is preferable that we do the extra effort of researching the information we need and keep asking questions as the very last in our learning process especially if we are in charge.
As long as we cannot search on our own, it is recommendable to follow certain steps in order not to look dumb.
10 Do Not Ask
If you have the feeling that your question is not professional at all or is the question of a novice, then do not ask it. Do some work on your own to get the answer, if you could not then figure a way to ask it that seems smart instead of putting it blunt?
9 Leave more room
This is for ones in any profession that requires handling people’s affairs. If you deal with customers on a one-to-one basis, then make it a habit to leave a room for him to give feedback. For example questions like “what else should we cover?” let them speak their minds.
8 Asking for Feedback
We are still in the same zone of dealing with customers, and here you have to take it for granted that asking for a feedback is not always recommendable. It could happen once or twice, but if it turns to a policy it will export an image of a less confident speaker.
7 Turn the Table
Suppose you are in a meeting and one dumb question is urging you to ask. You cannot go further without asking it and you cannot research it either. All you need to do is to look for a smart style to express it. My suggestion is to turn the table, which means do not make the question about you, for example, “how could this be explained for a newbie?”
6 Go Serpentine
You still have a question that is etching, instead of going for it straight, go serpentine. And this means that you would ask about other people’s opinion on your thorny topic.
5 Be Vague
Ask questions that leave your listener with the notion that what they said needs clarification. This could be achieved through putting open-ended questions. You can ask about their impressions as well.
4 Focus on What You Know
It is a good idea when asking a question that may seem dumb to highlight powerful sides. Start with the point you understand and move swiftly to the one you do not. Or show that you have searched or prepared for the topic beforehand and now you are discussing it.
3 Push the interlocutor
“Could you walk me through some similar ideas?” is a good question to let your interlocutor to give details on their own. In other words pull them gently to it.
2 Big Words
Meetings in any field are often home for a number of jargons of that field. Knowing these terms are integral and basic for going further, however, they are the first thing you should not ask about. You can search them later on your own, in a minute you get their knowledge without losing points in the eyes of your manager.
1 It is a stupid question, but
The phrase above is the first thing you should erase from your dictionary. Take my word for it. This is the kind of qualifier that once put in your question acts as a stupidity certificate.
Putting in mind that questions are dumb, might push others to think they are. However, if you would like to call them questions of novices, you can still ask them in a smart way.