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ONLINE TRAINING: Stop Asking Stupid Questions

The person who coined the phrase, “there’s no such thing as a stupid question” was either flat-out lying or unaware of all the stupid questions he/she was asking.

I know from experience there are plenty of stupid, bad, lazy and unproductive questions – all of which lead to a lot of eye-rolling, but that’s not the worst part, neither is the sounding stupid part. The worst part is the wasted time. That’s what you should be worried about.

It takes longer to get the answers you need to figure out the real issue, identify solutions and inspire action when you’re asking bad questions.

And just so we’re clear – if you are following the advice of most so-called “experts” you’re probably asking these types of questions.

  • "Experts" who preach the importance of open-ended questions probably haven’t bombed with those on live TV.
  • Academics, like those in the Harvard Business Review, who advocate follow-up questions as a form of small talk and engagement are probably oblivious to how those questions are being received (and how many are being ignored.)
  • The idea that yes/no questions are always off the table is just plain wrong.

Following any of this advice isn’t going to get you closer to the truth or to the real issue at hand. Asking better questions mean you ask fewer questions – not more. And you to the “real” story without getting bogged down in conversation tangents.

Take it from someone who asks questions for a living. Great questions get people to reveal more than they expected 98% of the time. I know from personal experience: thousands of interviews with hundreds of athletes across 20 years in sports broadcasting.

The questions I ask are different than the ones you ask because...

  1. I'm working with tight time constraints (most of my interviews are less than three minutes long)
  2. Which means the questions have to be targeted and focused
  3. They don’t get edited out of the conversation they’re part of the broadcast and no one wants to sound stupid on live TV or radio.

I've written about my process for asking better questions and delivered this presentation to sales teams, but for first time it's available to everyone in a free 30-minute webinar. 

Stop Asking Stupid Questions

Date: Tuesday March 17

Time: Noon-12:30pm PST

Location: Online. Register here

Better questions lead to better answers and the confidence in knowing you're not the one asking stupid questions. You're the one solving problems in less time. 

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