I ask questions for a living. Coaching, podcasts, writing…
What makes a low-quality question?
In my mind, it’s one that can be answered with a single word or sentence.
- Do you like your job?
- What kind of food do you enjoy?
- What do you do for a living?
These run the risk of being answered immediately and mundanely. Not everyone is good at expounding or really running with a prompt. So I like to ask questions that force people to think and open up a bit.
- What’s your favorite and least favorite thing about your job?
- If you could hand-pick every meal you ate for a week, what would that week look like?
- How would you explain what you do for a living without using the name of the occupation itself?
Not only do questions like these tend to get more juice out of the person I’m talking to. But they also bring a sense of fun. There’s nothing quite like being asked a question we’ve never been asked before.
So for me, a high-quality question is one that:
- they don’t hear often
- makes them think before answering
- cannot be answered with a single word
My favorite question to ask people?
What have you been learning about yourself?
Not only does this meet all three criteria mentioned above. But you can ask this question to someone multiple times in a month and get totally different answers. It implies growth and awareness. It allows people to reflect on the direction they’re heading.
I ask this question to my clients, my friends, and myself. The results are reliably rewarding.
What’s your favorite question to ask people?