Do you enjoy asking questions? Many people don’t. They might want to get answers – but when it comes to the crunch, asking any question can be tough.
What if they don’t know the answer? What if they don’t even understand the question? That might make them look silly.
What if they give the questioner a blank look, or refuse to answer? That might make them look stupid, or rude.
As a result, most cultures share a general reluctance to ask questions, except in certain ritualised situations (such as interviews).
This danger of asking questions is something my Clean Language students often struggle with. Clean Language is a set of precision questions designed to explore another person’s experience. To become proficient with it, it’s essential to ask loads of questions.
And when the students start asking any questions, they feel uncomfortable.
“It’s because the Clean Language questions are weird,” they’ll say. “How can I make them sound more normal?”
But the truth is, there’s nothing weird about the Clean Language questions. “What kind of ….?” or “Where is … ?” are perfectly ordinary questions.
What’s actually weird – or, at least, unusual – is asking a question, rather than not asking one. And that’s making it much harder for us to understand each other.
- Feel free to ask a question in the “comments” area below 🙂