Do You Know How to Ask the Right Questions?
Looking at tools like Google Squared, Google Trends and Wolfram Alpha, it's becoming increasingly clear to me that one of the key challenges we have before us is learning how to ask questions. And not just any question, but the RIGHT questions. There's tremendous power in the possibilities of these tools, but if you don't know what to ask about or how to ask it, then what's the point?
This leads me to wonder if we're really doing a good job of teaching the art of questioning, either in schools or in the workplace. My anecdotal response would be "no, we do a terrible job of this," partially because we seem to do what we can to kill curiosity and creativity, starting from an early age. A 4-year old does a great job of asking question, but by the time he gets out of 2nd grade, not so much.
And from what I can tell, many workplaces are structured to avoid questions. Let's just do what we've been doing and not stir things up with curiosity. We also seem to love moving immediately to answers and solutions. Maybe we need to spend more time formulating the right questions.
This seems like one of those areas where we need to think carefully about how our tools may be outstripping our ability to use them. I love all this cool technology, but are our skills keeping up with what the tools can do? And how are we going to address this?
Kia ora e Michele!
"we need to think carefully about how our tools may be outstripping our ability to use them"
Amen to that!
But, hey, go easy on the teachers and what's been taught in school or fostered in the workplace. I think it goes further than the precincts of either.
But here's where the problem gets even bigger. Our societies have to change to accommodate the tools. I'm optimistic, but tend to think practically. Unfortunately this practice often gets labelled as pessimistic or negative. I don't think it's either of these. My candit thoughts on this are that society is approaching its own limit to be able to cope effectively with any more advancement - of any sort.
There are a number of safety valves and alarm signals that are going off. I coined the term technowhelm last year to explain one set of them. This year I've been cringing at the polemics who want to get rid of the book/textbook. My hunch on this one is that even some of our educated in society are subliminally bringing down the shutters on information. They are reacting to infowhelm. I sympathise with them, only I don't agree with their narrow way of fixing it, for it's like a dog in a manger.
Also, asking the right question the right way is nothing new. It is clear that this presented an impediment to learning and communication over a hundred years ago.
Posted by: Ken Allan | June 07, 2009 at 06:57 AM
Let's focus on job interviewing for a moment. Many candidates fail an interview because they didn't come prepared to the interview with questions and did not listen carefully for info/cues during the interview to pose questions.
Many hiring manages gauge insight, introspection, proactivity, intelligence, and problem solving to name a few traits by the quality of questions a candidate asks?
What's your "questioning IQ?"
Posted by: Barry Deutsch | June 07, 2009 at 05:08 PM