Do You Ask Good Questions?

When I taught marketing at a local university, I received curious looks from students when I would say, “I hope you’re not here to learn marketing answers.”

After letting them wrestle with that concept for a moment, I would continue by saying, “The reason I am here is to stimulate your curiosity so that you ask good marketing questions.”

Too often we mistakenly assume that the goal of education is to find the right answers. We obsess unnecessarily with that pursuit—finding correct answers.

We would be much wiser to focus on asking good questions. From my experience, I have learned that answers magically appear at the right time when coaxed out of hiding by positive, affirming questions.

We’ve all worked for a boss or been around someone who compensated for his insecurity by always having to provide the right answers. I’ve never been impressed with know-it-alls. Rather, I hope to be surrounded by individuals who are curious, inquisitive and vulnerable. They recognize that life is a journey and the pathway is best illuminated when we ask insightful, probing and provocative questions.

“It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.”

Don’t you love that quote from James Thurber?

Want to test your own skills? Why not leave a comment below in the form of a question? Can you help move this conversation forward—not by offering an opinion—but by asking an interesting question?

3 Responses to Do You Ask Good Questions?

  1. Duane Hallock says:

    Why did I received comments to this blog over on Facebook rather than here?

  2. Mel Campbell says:

    What about the quote, “Any fool can ask questions and most fools do!”?
    Did you ever use that one in your marketing class?
    Let’s see I think that is 3 questions including this one, isn’t it?



    • Duane Hallock says:

      Thanks, Mel, for the comment and quote. I also love the quote, “Any fool can ask a question that a thousand wise men cannot answer.” In a business meeting, on a TV “news” show or in any other public discourse, it’s always easy to identify the person who is asking questions to impress others. Some people believe they will look smarter if they make others look dumber. No one is more impressed with them than they are of themselves. I’m not impressed with those types of interrogators.

      What I am grateful, though, are those who are on a journey and know that the path ahead will best be navigated by asking positive, empowering questions. For those wise people, a genuine curiosity become an internal and reliable GPS.

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