I've always admired people that have an innate ability to ask good questions. This also includes asking the right questions and thriving in the process. My skills have improved over the years, mainly by watching others, but I'm still far from where I want to be? What have you learned about asking questions that will help others? Question asking is real art and can oft be a fine balance between getting what you want and need and being seen as arrogant or inappropriate.
Alexander McCaskill, PE
Geotechnical Section, Bridge Group
715 Kirk Drive, Kansas City, MO 64105 | www.hntb.com
Asking questions has another name curiosity. We all inherit that tendency from our childhood – and learning begins by asking questions. As we grow up, some of us become shy afraid to ask questions, others doggedly pursue to seek answers to questions. The pursuance is what one calls the sharpening of intelligence. Louis Pasteur (1822 – 1895) said it right: In the fields of observation, chance favours only the prepared mind. In Albert Einstein's (1879 – 1955) words: I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious.
We begin by asking to our own storehouse of knowledge, then to friends and colleagues – to consulting books and references . . . when not satisfied, we take the task upon ourselves – that's how exploration, discovery and innovation started. By that time, the questions have become more relevant, refined and focused.
That brings us to the question: can the questions be good or bad? Well, it depends on at least four factors: (1) to whom the question is asked; (2) what is the motivation behind it; (3) how relevant is the question; or (4) how it is asked or worded, in other words how prepared is the question. All teachers (including myself) like students who ask questions – with the feeling that the asking student is ready to learn – and the teacher gives his or her best to help the student.
------------------------------Dr. Dilip Barua, Ph.D, P.Eng, M. ASCEVancouver, BC, Canada------------------------------