I had a conversation with a potential client the other day and they asked me question after question. Probably thinking I was getting irritated by it (if they knew me better they would know this certainly wouldn’t be the case), the client said “We teach all of our consultants to ask questions. If they don’t understand something, they are told to ask more questions.” Wow!
This is definitely the kind of place I would like to work. My husband can vouch for this. If he tells me he was talking with so-and-so the other day and they went to the Bahamas, I ask “When did they go? For how long? Did they go with someone? …” until he says, “I didn’t interrogate them!”
One of the biggest problems with projects is not getting a complete view of the objectives (scope). This stems from a few things, including not spending the time and effort to find out what the client really wants. How do we find out what the client wants? ASK.
Why wouldn’t we ask questions? Probably from a fear of looking stupid – after all, whatever we do, we are supposed to be experts in our field. Our customers come to us to get their problems solved. Isn’t asking questions a sign of weakness?
I would claim that asking questions is a sign of confidence.
When I was in elementary school there was a classmate who asked the most seemingly stupid questions. That classmate is now a doctor. I could see that my classmate wasn’t stupid – rather, appearing unintelligent was less of a risk than not knowing.
So, as my potential client so clearly demonstrated, asking questions is a key to success.