Yonina Eisenberg

5 Tips on How to Ask a Good Question

Perhaps there is no such thing as a stupid question, but there are certainly some questions that are smarter than others. Whether or not a question is on the smarter side has everything to do with the way in which you ask the question.

Here are a few quick tips on how to ask smarter, more effective questions that will maximize the likelihood of receiving helpful information in return:

  1. Do your research first
    • Nobody wants to hear the same question multiple times. Before you ask, poke around in whatever resources possible to see if you can answer your own question without anyone’s help. Senexx SolvePath makes this step easy with its automatic drop-down menu that shows you similar inquiries and their answers.
  2. Be specific
    • If you ask a general question, chances are you will get a general answer. In order to get an answer that is tailored to your needs, define exactly what you would like to know and then ask for that information with precision.
  3. Use simple language
    • You won’t get a helpful answer if no one can understand your question. Be sure to use clear and simple language to convey your message.
  4. Ask the right people
    • Your company’s IT department will probably not know the answer to a question about sales. You will get a better answer and save a lot of time and frustration if you approach people who are experts in your question’s topic. Senexx SolvePath helps by automatically identifying those experts for you.
  5. Be respectful
    • The tone with which you phrase your question is very important. Be careful not to come off too demanding, entitled, or arrogant when you ask for information. People will be much more willing to help you if they feel valued and appreciated.

The way in which you ask a question may differ depending on the context in which you are asking. For instance, asking a question in a classroom setting is different from asking a question in an online forum, which is different from sending an email to an individual person, and so on. You should always be aware of what is or is not appropriate in the particular setting in which you find yourself asking a question. However, the above tips provide good guidelines for asking a smart and effective question in any context, so ask away!