May I Ask You a Question?

By, 10/19/2012

Good communication is vital in every aspect of life. However, more often than not, good communication is portrayed as effectively explaining a concept or stating your opinion. Though the ability to express yourself well is helpful in the workplace, knowing when to sit back and listen and, more importantly, to ask questions can increase your visibility at work.

Observing my colleagues, it’s evident those who ask the most questions and truly listen to the answers (whether in entry-level or managerial roles) are the most successful. While some are afraid to look ignorant, asking questions demonstrates humility and curiosity—two valuable traits. Furthermore, it can give your peers insight into your thinking process, which further promotes a productive conversation. Asking questions may also bring your drive to learn to management’s attention and could encourage peers who may be afraid to speak up without your example.

So while asking questions (even the “dumb” ones) may feel embarrassing, the courage you demonstrate by putting yourself out there, and the exchanges that follow, promote your leadership skills—and, down the road, maybe they’ll help promote you, too.