To get great answers you need to learn how to make good questions.
Making good questions seems hard. How many times were you in a room and someone asked the teacher a stupid question? It happens all the time.
But guess what? It’s perfectly fine. Because if you want to learn how to ask good questions you’ll have to first ask the stupid ones. You’ll have to ask them and then go through a much deeper discovery of what the real problem is.
So let’s say you’re discussing a new project, how to get to the good question? Start by diving into the project by asking simple questions and then try to ask question to go deeper into the subject. Ask questions on how it works even in detail.
See, the problem is that we think stupid questions are useless. They’re not, even though sometimes they can be easily avoided they are still part of the learning process.
The worst part of stupid questions is that we have learned, through social behaviour, that we should refrain from asking them. But how do we know if we’re asking a stupid question? We don’t have any reference and therefore we tend to keep our mouth shut.
This hurts our learning because we don’t ask question at all, while we should do the exact opposite.
But how can I learn it to ask good questions?
There’s a nice exercise I love which is based on the iteration, we can use it in many learning areas. The idea behind it is to find a way to explore a subject by iterating over ideas or, in this case, questions.
Let’s apply it to a simple example: A pen writing on paper.
The goal in this case is to produce an amount of subsequent questions “after we feel exhausted”. So basically you need to get to the point when you think “there’s no way I can come up with another question”, and then get at least another 3 questions .
First question might be:
How does a pen write on paper?
Well, let’s suppose it’s a rolling pen, so in our case the ink rolls onto a piece of metal and gets to the paper.
But how does the ink stays on paper?
Well, probably the ink, being liquid, is absorbed by the paper.
And how come paper absorb the ink? What’s the process that allows paper to absorb liquid?
Etc etc etc.
The first question had a clear, stupid answer right? But we got fast to the point of “How paper absorb things”, and then you can still move on for at least another 6 questions.
The whole point of the exercise is to learn to go into detail about how things work so that your questions go into a deeper level of knowledge.