How to ask good questions

715538351c6be6d67ba658fed4322fec?s=47 Tal Raviv
April 07, 2019

How to ask good questions

715538351c6be6d67ba658fed4322fec?s=128

Tal Raviv

April 07, 2019
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  1. @talraviv talraviv.org how to ask good questions

  2. @talraviv talraviv.org I’ve always been “that guy”

  3. @talraviv talraviv.org and they’ve always been called “Tal questions”

  4. @talraviv talraviv.org (def: dumb questions that are [mostly] appreciated)

  5. @talraviv talraviv.org as a five year old watching the mechanic

    fix the family car
  6. @talraviv talraviv.org as a five year old watching the mechanic

    fix the family car throughout 12 years of school
  7. @talraviv talraviv.org as a five year old watching the mechanic

    fix the family car throughout 12 years of school certainly in college
  8. @talraviv talraviv.org as a five year old watching the mechanic

    fix the family car throughout 12 years of school certainly in college in work meetings
  9. @talraviv talraviv.org as a five year old watching the mechanic

    fix the family car throughout 12 years of school certainly in college in work meetings while getting taught things
  10. @talraviv talraviv.org as a five year old watching the mechanic

    fix the family car throughout 12 years of school certainly in college in work meetings while getting taught things and at the doctor’s office
  11. @talraviv talraviv.org I ask a lot of dumb questions

  12. @talraviv talraviv.org like, a lot

  13. @talraviv talraviv.org good questions are healthy

  14. @talraviv talraviv.org good questions are the

  15. @talraviv talraviv.org tire kicks good questions are the

  16. @talraviv talraviv.org tire kicks stress test good questions are the

  17. @talraviv talraviv.org tire kicks stress test inoculation good questions are

    the
  18. @talraviv talraviv.org tire kicks stress test inoculation sunlight good questions

    are the
  19. @talraviv talraviv.org tire kicks stress test inoculation sunlight chaos monkey*

    good questions are the
  20. @talraviv talraviv.org tire kicks stress test inoculation sunlight chaos monkey*

    of knowledge good questions are the
  21. @talraviv talraviv.org tire kicks stress test inoculation sunlight chaos monkey*

    of knowledge good questions are the *A great tech term I learned: it’s software that breaks your infrastructure on purpose to find problems early
  22. @talraviv talraviv.org good questions are the

  23. @talraviv talraviv.org blenders good questions are the

  24. @talraviv talraviv.org blenders stirrers good questions are the

  25. @talraviv talraviv.org blenders stirrers cross pollinators good questions are the

  26. @talraviv talraviv.org blenders stirrers cross pollinators shakers good questions are

    the
  27. @talraviv talraviv.org blenders stirrers cross pollinators shakers mattocks* good questions

    are the
  28. @talraviv talraviv.org blenders stirrers cross pollinators shakers mattocks* of communication

    good questions are the
  29. @talraviv talraviv.org blenders stirrers cross pollinators shakers mattocks* of communication

    good questions are the *Like a plough or a tiller but really basic and for hard soil. Thanks Wikipedia!
  30. @talraviv talraviv.org systems and people that dont like questions

  31. @talraviv talraviv.org are likely insecure systems and people that dont

    like questions
  32. @talraviv talraviv.org are likely insecure are pretty fragile systems and

    people that dont like questions
  33. @talraviv talraviv.org are likely insecure are pretty fragile are hiding

    something systems and people that dont like questions
  34. @talraviv talraviv.org are likely insecure are pretty fragile are hiding

    something are at their edge systems and people that dont like questions
  35. @talraviv talraviv.org are likely insecure are pretty fragile are hiding

    something are at their edge won’t last long-term systems and people that dont like questions
  36. @talraviv talraviv.org are likely insecure are pretty fragile are hiding

    something are at their edge won’t last long-term are unfair or unhealthy systems and people that dont like questions
  37. @talraviv talraviv.org are likely insecure are pretty fragile are hiding

    something are at their edge won’t last long-term are unfair or unhealthy think about that teacher, religion, social context, organization, institution, practice, leader etc. that didn’t like questions systems and people that dont like questions
  38. @talraviv talraviv.org i got really lucky

  39. @talraviv talraviv.org my dad my mom my best friends my

    culture my professors my bosses i got really lucky
  40. @talraviv talraviv.org my dad my mom my best friends my

    culture my professors my bosses [for the most part] were delighted when I asked questions i got really lucky
  41. @talraviv talraviv.org so

  42. @talraviv talraviv.org how to ask good questions

  43. @talraviv talraviv.org it’s three things you already know how to

    do:
  44. @talraviv talraviv.org be dumb it’s three things you already know

    how to do:
  45. @talraviv talraviv.org be dumb be dumb out loud it’s three

    things you already know how to do:
  46. @talraviv talraviv.org be dumb be dumb out loud be dumb

    kindly it’s three things you already know how to do:
  47. @talraviv talraviv.org we all know how to do these

  48. @talraviv talraviv.org we all know how to do these and

    they’re still hard work
  49. @talraviv talraviv.org be dumb

  50. @talraviv talraviv.org play it in your head

  51. @talraviv talraviv.org put yourself in the person’s shoes play it

    in your head
  52. @talraviv talraviv.org put yourself in the person’s shoes imagine the

    system working play it in your head
  53. @talraviv talraviv.org put yourself in the person’s shoes imagine the

    system working visualize it happening play it in your head
  54. @talraviv talraviv.org put yourself in the person’s shoes imagine the

    system working visualize it happening build a mental model play it in your head
  55. @talraviv talraviv.org put yourself in the person’s shoes imagine the

    system working visualize it happening build a mental model …is that hard to do? Good! play it in your head
  56. @talraviv talraviv.org feel frustrated

  57. @talraviv talraviv.org why doesn’t it connect? feel frustrated

  58. @talraviv talraviv.org why doesn’t it connect? what feels blurry? feel

    frustrated
  59. @talraviv talraviv.org why doesn’t it connect? what feels blurry? are

    there missing puzzle pieces? feel frustrated
  60. @talraviv talraviv.org why doesn’t it connect? what feels blurry? are

    there missing puzzle pieces? is there a term you don’t understand? feel frustrated
  61. @talraviv talraviv.org why doesn’t it connect? what feels blurry? are

    there missing puzzle pieces? is there a term you don’t understand? is there a missing “why” feel frustrated
  62. @talraviv talraviv.org the more effort you put into trying to

    really wrap your head around something, the more gaps you’ll notice
  63. @talraviv talraviv.org how often does this process happen? feel frustrated

  64. @talraviv talraviv.org how often does this process happen? how many

    people are there? feel frustrated
  65. @talraviv talraviv.org how often does this process happen? how many

    people are there? what isn’t important here? feel frustrated
  66. @talraviv talraviv.org how often does this process happen? how many

    people are there? what isn’t important here? what if this didn’t take place? feel frustrated
  67. @talraviv talraviv.org how often does this process happen? how many

    people are there? what isn’t important here? what if this didn’t take place? how do they get that number? feel frustrated
  68. @talraviv talraviv.org pay attention to any “black boxes” or assumptions

    let them bother you
  69. @talraviv talraviv.org feel frustrated what does that acronym mean?

  70. @talraviv talraviv.org feel frustrated what does that acronym mean? how

    do we even know that??
  71. @talraviv talraviv.org feel frustrated what does that acronym mean? how

    do we even know that?? that’s a big list, what’s the main driver?
  72. @talraviv talraviv.org feel frustrated what does that acronym mean? how

    do we even know that?? that’s a big list, what’s the main driver? why is that fact a given?
  73. @talraviv talraviv.org feel frustrated what does that acronym mean? how

    do we even know that?? that’s a big list, what’s the main driver? why is that fact a given? where did that constraint come from?
  74. @talraviv talraviv.org feel frustrated what does that acronym mean? how

    do we even know that?? that’s a big list, what’s the main driver? why is that fact a given? where did that constraint come from? why doesn’t it add up in my brain????
  75. @talraviv talraviv.org “frustration with a mental model” is also known

    as “curiosity”
  76. @talraviv talraviv.org notice that frustration!

  77. @talraviv talraviv.org don’t let go of the gaps!

  78. @talraviv talraviv.org and then,

  79. @talraviv talraviv.org be dumb

  80. @talraviv talraviv.org part of asking good questions

  81. @talraviv talraviv.org part of asking good questions is asking them

  82. @talraviv talraviv.org being dumb out loud is scary

  83. @talraviv talraviv.org being dumb out loud is scary what if

    everyone else already knows the answer?
  84. @talraviv talraviv.org say everyone else already knows

  85. @talraviv talraviv.org then why are you different? say everyone else

    already knows
  86. @talraviv talraviv.org then why are you different? are you new?

    say everyone else already knows
  87. @talraviv talraviv.org then why are you different? are you new?

    are you there to collaborate? say everyone else already knows
  88. @talraviv talraviv.org then why are you different? are you new?

    are you there to collaborate? are you there to learn? say everyone else already knows
  89. @talraviv talraviv.org then why are you different? are you new?

    are you there to collaborate? are you there to learn? …there’s probably a legit reason! say everyone else already knows
  90. @talraviv talraviv.org …if it’s a legit reason, say everyone else

    already knows
  91. @talraviv talraviv.org …if it’s a legit reason, good people will

    appreciate you say everyone else already knows
  92. @talraviv talraviv.org …if it’s a legit reason, good people will

    appreciate you it means you care say everyone else already knows
  93. @talraviv talraviv.org …if it’s a legit reason, good people will

    appreciate you it means you care it means you listen say everyone else already knows
  94. @talraviv talraviv.org …if it’s a legit reason, good people will

    appreciate you it means you care it means you listen it means they trust you to speak up say everyone else already knows
  95. @talraviv talraviv.org now what if no one else knows either

  96. @talraviv talraviv.org now what if no one else knows either

    is it a fledgling idea?
  97. @talraviv talraviv.org now what if no one else knows either

    is it a fledgling idea? is it being communicated vaguely?
  98. @talraviv talraviv.org now what if no one else knows either

    is it a fledgling idea? is it being communicated vaguely? are first principles unclear?
  99. @talraviv talraviv.org now what if no one else knows either

    is it a fledgling idea? is it being communicated vaguely? are first principles unclear? are they taking facts for granted?
  100. @talraviv talraviv.org now what if no one else knows either

    is it a fledgling idea? is it being communicated vaguely? are first principles unclear? are they taking facts for granted? …they’ll appreciate you asked!
  101. @talraviv talraviv.org if people around you aren’t asking questions

  102. @talraviv talraviv.org if people around you aren’t asking questions it’s

    either because they’re not trying to understand
  103. @talraviv talraviv.org if people around you aren’t asking questions it’s

    either because they’re not trying to understand or they are, and they’re not saying anything
  104. @talraviv talraviv.org it’s become a point of pride for me

    to ask my dumb questions
  105. @talraviv talraviv.org it’s become a point of pride for me

    to ask my dumb questions and if people laugh, something’s wrong with them not me
  106. @talraviv talraviv.org it’s become a point of pride for me

    to ask my dumb questions and if people laugh, something’s wrong with them not me (good people don’t laugh at dumb questions)
  107. @talraviv talraviv.org This is easier said than done I’m lucky

    to have this behavior positively reinforced [for the most part]
  108. @talraviv talraviv.org but think about it:

  109. @talraviv talraviv.org confident experienced people ask dumb questions

  110. @talraviv talraviv.org confident experienced people ask dumb questions have you

    noticed how the people who’ve been around for the longest are the ones that ask the simplest dumbest questions?
  111. @talraviv talraviv.org confident experienced people ask dumb questions have you

    noticed how the people who’ve been around for the longest are the ones that ask the simplest dumbest questions? FYI: If you ask dumb simple questions, they’ll appreciate and trust you more
  112. @talraviv talraviv.org though, one last thing,

  113. @talraviv talraviv.org be dumb kindly

  114. @talraviv talraviv.org the problem with asking dumb questions is that

    dumb questions cut deep
  115. @talraviv talraviv.org people may feel like youre attacking them

  116. @talraviv talraviv.org questioning their competence people may feel like youre

    attacking them
  117. @talraviv talraviv.org questioning their competence cross examining their testimony people

    may feel like youre attacking them
  118. @talraviv talraviv.org questioning their competence cross examining their testimony arm

    wrestling them people may feel like youre attacking them
  119. @talraviv talraviv.org I’ve definitely felt this way and I’ve definitely

    made others feel this way
  120. @talraviv talraviv.org it doesn’t matter what your intentions are it

    doesn’t help in the moment
  121. @talraviv talraviv.org so

  122. @talraviv talraviv.org how can you add energy with your questions

  123. @talraviv talraviv.org have a good relationship [okay, duh, so barring

    that…] how can you add energy with your questions
  124. @talraviv talraviv.org have a good relationship [okay, duh, so barring

    that…] make it clear you trust they know their stuff how can you add energy with your questions
  125. @talraviv talraviv.org have a good relationship [okay, duh, so barring

    that…] make it clear you trust they know their stuff make it clear the problem is in your brain not their brain how can you add energy with your questions
  126. @talraviv talraviv.org “I want to make sure I am following

    you…” “I may have missed this part…” “I’m new to this so I don’t understand…” “I’m not an expert here at all…” make it about your brain not their brain
  127. @talraviv talraviv.org those are just tactics though

  128. @talraviv talraviv.org you gotta genuinely believe the gaps are in

    your brain, not theirs
  129. @talraviv talraviv.org “Generous listening is powered by curiosity, a virtue

    we can invite and nurture in ourselves to render it instinctive. It involves a kind of vulnerability— a willingness to be surprised, to let go of assumptions and take in ambiguity. The listener wants to understand the humanity behind the words of the other, and patiently summons one’s own best self and one’s own best words and questions.” Krista Tippett
  130. @talraviv talraviv.org so before we go some clarifications

  131. @talraviv talraviv.org questions that arent good

  132. @talraviv talraviv.org devil’s advocate questions that focus on “why this

    won’t work” (instead of asking how it can) be dumb doesnt mean
  133. @talraviv talraviv.org devil’s advocate questions that focus on “why this

    won’t work” (instead of asking how it can) questions that hold “lack of perfection” against an idea (instead of focusing on what matters) be dumb doesnt mean
  134. @talraviv talraviv.org trying to catch people in inconsistencies or contradictions,

    prosecutor style be dumb doesnt mean
  135. @talraviv talraviv.org trying to catch people in inconsistencies or contradictions,

    prosecutor style “why” questions that unravel things too far back to be useful, four year old style be dumb doesnt mean
  136. @talraviv talraviv.org “[W]e trade mostly in answers— competing answers— and

    in questions that corner, incite, or entertain. In journalism we have a love affair with the ‘tough’ question, which is often an assumption masked as an inquiry and looking for a fight.
  137. @talraviv talraviv.org “[W]e trade mostly in answers— competing answers— and

    in questions that corner, incite, or entertain. In journalism we have a love affair with the ‘tough’ question, which is often an assumption masked as an inquiry and looking for a fight. … My only measure of the strength of a question now is in the honesty and eloquence it elicits.” Krista Tippett
  138. @talraviv talraviv.org out loud doesnt mean taking up other’s time

    with your questions
  139. @talraviv talraviv.org out loud doesnt mean taking up other’s time

    with your questions holding things up if you don’t get an answer
  140. @talraviv talraviv.org kindly doesnt mean overly careful and apologetic

  141. @talraviv talraviv.org kindly doesnt mean overly careful and apologetic so

    indirect that it’s hard to follow
  142. @talraviv talraviv.org kindly doesnt mean overly careful and apologetic so

    indirect that it’s hard to follow (working on the west coast, I have to ask people to say things again, simpler)
  143. @talraviv talraviv.org you get it

  144. @talraviv talraviv.org so

  145. @talraviv talraviv.org ask good questions

  146. @talraviv talraviv.org be dumb

  147. @talraviv talraviv.org be dumb be dumb out loud

  148. @talraviv talraviv.org be dumb be dumb out loud be dumb

    kindly
  149. @talraviv talraviv.org be the

  150. @talraviv talraviv.org that’s it!

  151. @talraviv talraviv.org kindly

  152. @talraviv talraviv.org talraviv.org