All questions need to be asked, good or bad, stupid or not. Leaving questions unanswered at your work will not only make you less productive but also risk your overall performance. Because come on, you never know how an answer could affect the work you are doing. Sometimes, your “stupid question” has an answer that is integral to your project. Thus, there is no way around it. You have to get the answers. But do we really have to look stupid while doing it? No, not necessarily.
Here is how to ask stupid questions without looking stupid.
Find Your Answers (Don’t Ask)
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Sometimes the answer you seek is just out there, all you need to do is observe. In that case, why even take the trouble of “asking a stupid question while trying not to sound stupid”? Just try and observe carefully to find out whatever you can about your question. Even if you do not get your answer, you might find something to work on. Something that might make your question less stupid! Also, it is always advisable to research and observe before you go on and ask your doubts. Doing that will equip you with sufficient knowledge for asking specific questions!
Here’s How To Finally Ask That Stupid Question
There are two elements of this process, follow any one and your question will never sound stupid. Yes, it’s magic. I have always said this and I will say it again- “Words are magic”. So to begin with, do not directly jump to your question.
When you directly ask- “hey how do we record this bill?”
This is what they hear- “hey I am dumb. I don’t know anything. Tell me how to record this bill”
Instead, start with what you know. Clear the air that you aren’t dumb and then ask the question.
“Hey I know how to record a receipt. But, can you help me with the bill?”
Voila! You are not sounding dumb or stupid anymore.
If this doesn’t sound like something you’d do, we have one more trick in our bag. Instead of ACTUALLY asking the question, make a suggestion. When you ask- “hey how do we record this bill?”
The question is too vague and makes you sound like someone who doesn’t know anything. You can change that by actually suggesting how to record the bill. Here’s what you could have said instead-
“Hey so should I directly record the bill in payments section?”
By giving a suggestion like that, you have also shown that you did give your doubt a sincere thought. Anyone would respect that and willingly offer you their guidance.
You Question Is Never Stupid
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Always remember that you will sound stupid only if you think your question is stupid. Be very confident when you ask any question and never acknowledge how silly or stupid it is.
“Hey I know I should know this, hey how do we record this bill?”
This is the worst way to ask your question. You are inviting them to think you are dumb. Irrespective of how unintelligent or simple your question is, ask it with utmost confidence and respect. You will be surprised to find out how helpful your colleagues can be when you ask a straightforward question. You know why? Because, they’ve been all there! So, it’s okay! Just relax and ask your question confidently.
Nobody knows everything. Next, when you are in the position of answering, remember to be polite, humble, and respectful.