Lack of curiosity killed the cat
Seth Godin blogged some time ago lamenting how as adults we lose the ability to ask questions.
Why do we stop asking questions? Here are a few reasons I can think of, perhaps you can think of more:
1. We don’t want to appear dumb
2. We want to fit in, and don’t want to rock the boat
3. We are used to the status quo.
4. We’ve been burned by asking questions before.
5. Asking questions doesn’t get us real answers.
6. We are not paying attention.
7. We don’t really want to hear the real answers to the important questions we have.
I recall many a time sitting in university lecture theatres, or even at office workshops after a presentation and invariably there would be few or no questions. I was often the one to ask the first “stupid question”.
It IS hard to ask questions as an adult, but if we don’t ask – we are not able to learn, to clarify, or to challenge. Without questions we are stuck with misunderstanding or with accepting the status quo.
So I have two suggestions:
1. Ask more questions, even “stupid” questions.
2. Encourage others to ask questions. And if you are a presenter, or a boss create a safe space for others to ask questions of you. Make them feel comfortable – even if you are not. And of course do your best to answer them, including admitting when you don’t have the answer.