How many different ways can you ask a question?
Ever watch television shows that feature lawyers?
Law & Order, Boston Legal, The Practice, ...even Matlock.
At some point during a court case the first lawyer will ask a witness a question, the second lawyer will object and the judge will ask the first lawyer to "rephrase the question". The lawyer will then ask what amounts to the exact same question in a subtly different way in order to abide by the judge's instruction, and yet still elicit the response she wanted from the witness in the first place.
How many different ways can you rephrase your questions?
If you had to ask your most pressing questions in another way -- could you do it?
While you may not have a judge forcing you to rephrase your questions, sometimes it's useful to think about the way you're asking questions in order to get more desirable results.
The way you word your questions has a direct impact on the answers you receive.
For example, if you think your company spends too much on office supplies you might ask the question:
"How can we save money on office supplies?"
This question might lead you down the path of buying items only when they are on sale, asking your provider for a discount, or buying cheaper store brands rather than name brands.
On the other hand, if you rephrased the question as:
"How can we conserve our office supplies?"
Your answers might focus more on controlling the supply resources and using scrap paper for messages rather than buying note pads, or appointing an officer to oversee the distribution of office supplies to employees, or making your office paperless.
The ability to rephrase and reframe questions is a valuable skill to have because it will set you apart from competitors when speaking with clients about their projects, and it will help you to be more fluid and flexible in your thinking -- which leads to increased creative abilities.
The next time you have a question to ask, see if you can come up with two or three different ways to ask it. Test the versions out on a few different people and track your results.
You may end up asking yourself:
Why didn't I try this sooner?
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