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Don't be Afraid to Ask Questions

ashleemboyer profile image Ashlee (she/her) Updated on ・2 min read

There's no such thing as a stupid question. There may be stupid timing for it, such as a student asking when an exam is 5 minutes after the teacher already announced that information. But that was still a good question, they just asked it at a horrible time.

In general, there are not too many restrictions on asking questions. It's a lot about timing them. For example, you don't want to ask too many specific questions about implementation details if you're still trying to find out what a client needs in a potential product. Their needs are probably going to change every time you talk to them at this point and planning the implementation too rigorously could be a waste of time.

So, what are the benefits of breaking out of your fear of asking questions and just doing it?

Learning, learning, learning

To an extent, who cares how they feel about you asking a bunch of questions? Your career is yours and only you can be responsible for taking it to the next level.

Making new friends

I can't tell you how many people I've met through the DEV Community site and Twitter over this past month. It's really exciting how much support you can find in this industry if you put yourself out there.

Building your confidence

Sometimes the scariest part about asking questions is knowing how to ask them. You can make 10 attempts at Googling something and Google isn't going to judge you for doing it. Re-wording a question to a human a few times to make sure you're getting the right information? That can potentially be frustrating for both of you. But good news! The more you ask questions, the better you get at wording them.

Have any insight on questions that you'd like to share? Leave a comment or send me a tweet! :)


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ashleemboyer profile

Ashlee (she/her)

@ashleemboyer

Disabled Web Developer ⌨️ | HOH 🀟 | Live Knitter 🧢 & Live Coder πŸ‘©β€πŸ’» | she/her

Discussion

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I take time to correct people everytime they say "I have a stupid question". It goes a long way!

 

I try to do things like this too! Sometimes people just need a little reinforcement.

 

Me too ...I find it very encouraging for others

 

Yes, very much agree. This is a skill all need to learn to get better. Interestingly, I had posted something on the similar topic. Please have a look

dev.to/atapas/fear-of-asking-quest...

 

Can’t do it until a bit later, but I’ll definitely take a look at your post! 😁

 

In a recent job interview, the interviewer asked me what my ideal work environment would look like.

I said somewhere where I could ask questions. She asked me to explain, so I went on to say I'm someone who doesn't hesitate to ask questions, especially if it helps me get somewhere.

Imagine my shock when she was fascinated that this is something I'd look for in a workplace. I mean, to me this is normal. But she had never even thought about it before, and went on to ask what kind of questions I'd ask, etc etc.

I didn't get the job, but I hope they can learn to create a great environment where everyone is comfortable to ask questions and continue learning.

 

Very true, good points. πŸ‘

Nobody learned anything from speaking. So I figured I'd ask questions (as you state)...

  • What is the best question you've asked? (vague, subjective but interesting).
  • What is the best question you have heard answered?
  • Do you like Socratic Method?
  • What's the best way to get lots of quality answers to your questions?

πŸ™‚

 

People who ask questions not only learn, but tend to save a lot of time! How many times have you seen people lost at the supermarket wandering around looking for something?

Now about questions, my top 5 briefing questions, probably more useful to freelancers but anyway:

  1. What are the goals and expectations that you plan to achieve with this project?
  2. What is the budget reserved for this project? (if 1 > 2 -> throw error & run :) (And this meme explains point 1 and 2) Graphic designer meme
  3. How do you think this proposal works compared with the current version? (NEVER ASK or USE THE WORD LIKE or similar in a creative proposal, our you are doomed!)
  4. What improvements, based on our last conversation about our goals, do you think we should make? Because clients know their business and we should listen to them! So never be afraid to check if the work is aligned with the goals in mind.
  5. Whatever the question is, don't forget about being polite!

An example:

BAD:

  • Project manager / client / Human person: Hey Matt, we need to make few changes.
  • Matt: AGAIN? WHY!?? @$%!!&Β·#!

GOOD:

  • Project manager / client / Human person: Hey Matt, we need to make few changes.
  • Matt: Perfect! Where can I find more details about why are we doing this changes, so I can do a more refined job?

NOTE: About the meme. I've worked with very humble clients with very low budgets. It's not only about money, sometimes people need guidance about realistic expectations, and if we don't ask the result could end in disappointment for both parts.

 

Nice post. I usually face this problem at work. I always have lot questions in mind but because of some unknown fear :p i am not able to ask always.

 

Just do it! :) People will appreciate the effort you make to do your job right.