How to Question?

I love to learn, and at the root of my learning is asking questions.  As a child, I would work to answer my own question and avoid asking in front of the entire class.  As I grew older and time became more critical, I found myself asking more questions during class.  The transformation took confidence in the fact that I believe in the statement, “There is never a dumb question.”  It wasn’t until years later that I realized my questioning was called the Socratic method.  The Socratic method has worked well for me but it has also been a problem.  About 10 years ago, I was informed by my peer that this method must be used with some care in the workplace.  So, below I’m sharing the learning from my experience.


Collaborate with “good intent”

Explain to your peers, teams and co-workers that you are collaborating (questioning) with good intent.  My advice comes from experience.  My questioning has been taken as an attack.  Peppering people with questions trigger a threat response and in turn will shut the person down or cause a defense mechanism to arise.  Starting with a “good intent” statement will lessen the potential defensive reaction from others and will foster more collaboration.  In addition the coaching method of questioning could be used which allows the other person to bring their own insights into the mix.


Be aware of your question allocation

Be careful not to overwhelm others with your questions.  My Love of Learning took over some year back.  I came into a new role, and I was so excited that I went on a questioning spree.  One of my peers joked that he was going to have to put me on a daily allocation of questions.  I now understand how this impacts others.  So, watch for these signs, choose your moments and select your questions appropriately.



Share in the art of questioning with others.  Offer the same courtesy to other’s questions as you would expect them to show you.


With Care, your questioning can be a great method to enable your love for learning.






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