Today’s giving: Called one of those “How Is My Driving?” numbers on the back of a semi. I simply reported that the driver was being extra courteous.
In Part 1 of Ask a Question Like a Mentor, I focused on how to prepare before you meet with your mento*. In Part 2, I gave the objectives of a good question. Today in Part 3, I’ll show you where to find that good question.
*Mento – The person you’re mentoring
Finding That Good Question
Patterns – As your mento is talking, take a few notes. Look for subjects to which they often come back. Look for names, places and topics which are repeated. These patterns are the hiding spaces where questions live.
Clarifications – In an essay by S. Snyder, it is argued that a good technique for asking a question is to know what you want to know. Or to speak like Donald Rumsfeld, you need to know your known unknowns. Help your mento by getting clarification on what they are saying. If it confused you, ask about it.
Opposition – If your mento is taking a certain position in his speech or problem, you can take the opposite position and then craft a question based. By forcing the mento to defend their position, you reinforce their understanding or possibly change their viewpoint.
Specifics – When someone speaks in abstracts, take those abstracts to their natural conclusion with an example. Seth Godin writes about the uselessness of abstract strategy discussions here. Very similarly, creating a good question from a generality can take the mento out of the realm of abstract and into the specific.
To the reader:
“When you listen, to what are you listening?”