Thursday, February 11, 2010

Creativity Tips: Ask Better

Here's a lesson from an old reporter: The quality of the answers you receive reveals the quality of the questions you ask.

Now, depending on the topic and the person, the best question can be as simple as, Why? (It's a wonderful question, as three-year-olds know and we forget.)

Often, though, the question needs to be a bit more targeted. For example, I rarely get really, really angry. It happened recently and I ranted a bit to a friend. His question back to me: What is the source of your anger?

For me, it was the perfect question. He didn't ask me to justify my emotional reaction. (Why are you so upset?) He didn't offer blanket sympathy. (Is there anything I can do to help?) Instead, he asked a question that made me stop and think -- a question that elicited a long, cathartic response.

If you're not getting the feedback you'd like from people at home or at work, consider your questions. Put your creative cap on. And ask better.

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