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How to Ask Good Questions that Lead You to Answers

Melvyn Tan
Melvyn Tan
2 min read

To get what you want in life, all you've got to do is ask good questions.

Now, that’s a pretty huge claim.

Before we cover what are good questions, let's look at bad ones.

Asking bad questions

What do you think about the idea?

That is a common question most people would ask. This is possibly the worst question any entrepreneur can ask. The reason is because the answers you get usually turn out to be false positives.

According to Rob Fitzpatrick, it is not the fault of the person you asked.

In his book, The Mom Test, the people you ask may not want to hurt you. They may choose not to discourage you. That's why they gave you the answer they thought you want to hear.

Fitzpatrick puts it this way:

1. Talk about their life instead of your idea
2. Ask about specifics in the past instead of generics or opinions about the future
3. Talk less and listen more

During the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, I came up with several product ideas.

To find out if people would buy them, I turned to my LinkedIn connections.

Here are the questions I asked them:

  • How have the pandemic affected their businesses.
  • What were their struggles, frustrations, or disappointments.
  • What have they done to resolve it.
  • What worked and what failed.

Previously, I was afraid of asking those questions. Because what if they tell me my ideas suck?

But by avoiding asking those questions, it has cost me both time and money.

How to ask good questions

To get answers that help you make progress, you need to ask good questions. To ask good questions, you have to first know how to structure your questions.

When faced with a challenge, I used to think of it as a statement.

In 2018, I've created a total of 184 videos on LinkedIn. At one point, I was feeling the pressure of creating high performing videos.

Instead of asking a question, I was thinking of the challenge I'm facing in the form of a statement: I don't know what to do with all the videos I've created.

Not being to make any progress for several weeks, I flipped through the notes I took during my Neurolinguistic Programming Course and found my answer:

Questions are the answers

What happened next was me asking myself a series of questions. These are the questions:

  1. What can I do with all the videos I've created?
  2. How can I used these videos to support my business?
  3. How can I leverage all the videos I've created to generate awareness and leads for my business?

Questions are the answers

Questions are the Answers is also the title of Hal Gregersen's book.

Have you read it? If yes, what's your biggest takeaway from the book?

Melvyn Tan

Over the last 19 years, I've built a badass one-person enterprise that allowed me to live life on my terms. Here, I write weekly about what I'm thinking and doing running my one-person enterprise.