The Absolute Worst Question You Could Ever Ask

We’ve all been told that the only bad question is the one not asked.

That’s a lie. You know it. I know it. There is such a thing as a bad question.

Question Mark Man

Image by Marco Belluci

Just think about your last trip to the store. It may have gone something like this:

You enter through the automatic door. There’s a couple of sales associates chatting. And then you’re approached by a different sales associate.

He greets you by asking “Can I help you with anything today?”

Your instincts kick in and you answer, almost robotically, “No, I’m just browsing today.”

You’re able to answer with a yes or a no. No need to expound upon why you’re in the store.

The question gave you an easy out and you took it. Effectively ending the conversation.

“Can I help you?”

Now, that’s a bad question… It may be the worst question you can ask.

Instead, we need ask better questions. Questions that will generate real answers.

Let’s take a look at a couple of questions that can evolve into better questions:

               Bad Question
Good Question
Can I help you today? What brings you into the store today?
How have you been? What’s the most exciting event that’s happened to you recently?
How’s the job going? What do you enjoy about your job?
What’s wrong with you? What issues are you struggling with?

Do you see the difference? The bad questions tend to ask for one word or very short answers. You could answer with a yes or a no. Good or bad. Nothing or everything.

There’s no depth to the question.

The good questions raise a concern for the person. They want to KNOW.

Good questions make it harder to answer with one or two words. You delve deeper than the surface. You show an interest in the person.

Now go out and ask better questions!

Question: How do you craft a good question? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.