Wednesday, August 18, 2004


The value of questions is endless. They can keep you looking smart and capable - as previously discussed - they can also make you more capable and smarter. Asking questions doesn't just provide new insights, ideas and facts from others, but can provide direction to your own thoughts as well.

When you communicate, somewhere, somehow you reach a decision that you need to say something. Getting to that decision is where questions - to yourself - provide enormous benefit.

Learn to ask yourself the fundamental question: "What do I want?"

This simple act is a tool for achievement, happiness, and direction in life. And it's not selfish to ask yourself this. Unless it's the only question you ask...

You have a reason for saying something, what is it? Do you want to learn, flatter someone, console someone, teach something, make people laugh, get a refund, avoid a conflict, or simply pass the time getting to know someone? What do you want?

Know why you are communicating, so you're better at answering the question of "How should I communicate this?" Write it, whisper it, send flowers, yell, grovel, or hold your tongue? How depends on what and why. Which you won't know, if you haven't asked!

One of the biggest advantages to writing over speaking is that it forces you to ask these questions. I knew that I wanted to share how important asking yourself questions can be. The tone and organization of this little monograph flowed from that answer. Once you've given this much conscious thought to what you want to communicate, you have fixed in your mind a goal and direction.

Moving that mind-set over to speaking is no easy task. If you don't already have a habit of asking yourself the "What do I want?" question regularly, well, it's an acquired taste. My brain seems wired to ask "how" questions and not the "what" and "why" types. In every arena of life, questions are more and more valuable and worth the time invested in making them work for you.

  • What do I want?
  • What do I want to say?
  • Why?
  • How do I want to say it?
  • When?
  • Where?

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