Wednesday, March 2, 2016

10 ways to ask a question

Once again a work related blog entry.  If you work at any kind of office you will provide some kind of help to superiors.  That is what you are paid to do.  Once you are good at your post, you will probably be asked questions about what you do or how you do it or what the decision making process is behind what you do.  Depending on how dumb people are, they will ask the SAME QUESTIONS OVER AND OVER.  This is some of the ways they try to make the same questions sound different.

-  Got a question for ya - Often the first time someone asks a question on a particular subject but certainly not the first time this person has asked a question of you.  This question betrays a willingness for that person to take authority even though they don't have any.  They have a question for YOU because what they are doing is important and you will provide valuable input that will support that projects ultimate success.  A more important cog in this machine you could not be.

-  So if a fella wanted to...I'm not asking for me, I'm asking for a friend! Wow, you really don't have much faith in the importance of this question do you?  So much so that you won't even own the question.  Instead you will play errand boy for someone that will lend some credence to your quest for knowledge.

-  Question - One word short and sweet.  If the actual question is also short and concise then this is the second best way to ask a question.  If they are trying to act like some kind of office Sherlock Holmes then it sounds a bit weird.  I use this one fairly often.

-  soo... - The person obviously doesn't know how to start a conversation that will involve a question.

-  I was wondering - Questions at work should never be for trivial knowledge accumulation.  I was wondering indicates vague interest.  I was wondering if you wanted to keep your job today?  I was wondering if you could answer the question that I ask you 2 or 3 times a month without becoming visibly annoyed.  'I was just gazing out on the landscape of my barely conscious mind and came upon a web of mystery that captured my fly like mind...Does our insurance cover Alien Abduction?'

-  Query - Wow, the only person I would expect to use this interrogative prefix was Data on Star Trek the Next Generation and only for one season. He dropped it when Worf threatened to degauss him between episodes.  If you are using it, please stop.  I'm a guy who likes pretense as much as the next, but this simply goes too far.

-  quick question - Because I know you don't want to be disturbed so maybe if I ask you this question this way, you will be less likely to think of it as me disturbing you and more likely to think of it as helping a fellow traveler down this road we call employment.

-  Direct approach -  Just ask the question.  You want to know the answer to something, there is no reason to give it a preamble or warm up, just ask the question.  If the question was stupid, that's fine, own it.  If it was a good question then bully, you are getting to the answer as directly as possible.

-  Were you in charge of...? -  Is there a question in there somewhere?  Am I in charge of?  Rarely does the person in charge of something (manager) know about the inner workings of that thing.  usually they know the person that knows.  If you are trying to keep the question secret to hide your ignorance, don't.  Let the person answering your question lead you to the person that is in charge of the subject matter assuming they can't answer your question in the first place.

-  got a head scratcher - Oh golly, this guy has gotten himself in such a pickle!  This is a regular brain teaser!  A noggin noodler!  The idea behind this is that as a team we will figure out a puzzle!  Perhaps unlock a lost treasure map, maybe find the lost city of Atlantis!  All we must do is together answer this riddle.  I will pose the riddle and you will answer it and by this means we shall be a team!

No, I'm not usually this picky, but on days when I'm not thrilled with people I get that way.  Hopefully it's better next time.

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