Can I just ask????

Posted on 10 October, 2019 at 6:00

Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash


Have you ever been at a meeting or conference where someone has asked a really simple, basic, obvious question?


And that really simple, basic, obvious question has been the one on everyone’s mind? So much so that you can almost hear the sighs of relief from the rest of the audiences.

So often, it isn’t us that asks that question, even if it is the one nagging away in our mind. We don’t want to look foolish, stupid, ignorant, uncool - fill in your own reason for keeping quiet.

Not asking questions can be a major barrier to not getting what we want. This can lead to miscommunication from lack of information and unclarity; false assumptions; unfulfilled expectations; frustrations.

This can come in part from thinking that if there is a question, there must be a “right” answer, or an either/or answer. Or that everyone else knows the answer and we are the only ones who didn’t get the memo.

(In fact, it can often be because other people just assume that everyone else knows what they are talking about. I was always saying to people that I couldn't meet them because I was going to a PV, until someone actually called me out and asked what a PV was. It is Private View, which I write as PV in my diary and is how I always think of them.)

But a question is just a tool, an invitation to discussion, to discovering answers together. A question can always be prefaced with, “I know this might seem a silly/cheeky/improbable question, but go with me on this one…”, “Sorry, I might have missed something - can I just check…”

And you might just find that the people around you breathe a sigh of relief and say, “I’m so glad you asked that!”.


(One of the comments which often comes up from clients during coaching sessions is “no-one has ever asked me that before”. It can be the beginning of the clarity they have been looking for. If you would like to engage with questions for clarity, apply for a coaching space.)

Categories: Productivity