Understanding the Question Is Half the Battle
Just saw this tweet:
It reminded me of several pieces of advice my dad gave me repeatedly during my primary and secondary education. First, he used to admonish continually, “If you don’t know, ASK!”
As I explained in the very first post on this blog, “He taught me to never be ashamed to ask a question for clarification or if I was confused about a point a teacher made. He reminded me that sometimes others had the same questions, and even encouraged me to ask questions when I did know the answer if I suspected there were others who didn’t quite understand the topic being explained at the moment.” This sometimes resulted in teachers looking straight at me, speaking really slowly and loudly – as if I was an idiot – because they had no idea I was asking on behalf of the rest of the class. Oh, the indignities I endured for the greater good!
But beyond simply asking, my dad also encouraged my sister and me always to make sure we understood the questions our teachers were asking of us – especially on exams. His last piece of advice on this subject was that we read the entire test before even beginning to answer a single question. That way, we’d know what was coming, which would allow us to plan and use the alloted time for the test to our advantage. He loved to regale us with the story of the time one of his teachers gave the class an exam on which the last question was, “Simply write your name on the top of the page and hand this in. It’s been a test to see how well you follow directions.”
The above tweet reminded me of this, specifically.
No doubt, my dad’s advice about asking and answering questions has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve become a chronic question-asker … and now author of 1,oo1 Real-Life Questions for Women. But beyond being a chronic question-asker, I’m also an advocate for asking – and answering – questions! Developing good question skills will teach you many things, improve your conversations, and make life much more interesting.
Please mark your calendar for next Tuesday, November 16, when Therese Skelly and I will be hosting In All Honesty – a teleconference with two experts speaking on the topics of question-asking and journaling as powerful tools for self-development. Don’t worry if you can’t make the scheduled call time – we will make a recording available to all who register.