How to ask good questions

Have you ever felt guilty when asking questions about a project? Like you should already know the answers? Or maybe you don’t want to bother people when they have other things to do.

Then there’s the politics. Asking questions can dredge up sensitive issues or raise questions people know they should have the answers to, but don’t.

As a business and technical writing trainer and coach, Dr. Elizabeth (Bette) Frick understands that the ability to ask good questions is a key skill for all professionals—especially for writers and editors.

In Bette’s “That’s a Good Question!” workshop, clients learn (among many other things):

  • How following a strategic writing process helps you develop good questions
  • The right—and wrong—ways to approach subject-matter experts
  • Why it’s important to take your questioning skills seriously

Bette has studied her own questioning behavior for years and says, “Whenever I make a business or personal mistake, it’s usually because I didn’t ask the right questions and proceeded on inadequate or false information. I recently made one of these unasked-question mistakes when I opened a new business credit card. When it arrived, I activated it and tried to set up automatic downloading into Quicken but could not complete that process. I called the bank and they confirmed that their credit card couldn’t download into Quicken. I cancelled the card immediately and realized that I should have asked, “Can I download transactions into Quicken?” before I applied. That would have saved me the time I spent on filling out the application and producing profit-and-loss documents for the bank.”

This November, Bette will be presenting a version of her “good questions” workshop at the American Medical Writers Association’s annual conference.

If you’re interested in having her speak to your group, you can contact her at efrick@textdoctor.com.

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