Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Tool for Titan #20 : The art of asking the right questions.

As school has just started, it is quite appropriate to have a short write-up today.

Today's segment features Alex Blumberg who is an award winning radio producer. This part of the book is all about asking the right kinds of question in interviews to get someone to open up.

 a) Ask a dumb question everyone is afraid of asking

The example used in the book is "Why are banks loaning so much money to people who can't buy it back ?" The answer which was not in the book is that because banks have found a way to package these loans and sell them off to other people so longer have to bear the risk of a default.

At least from a context of a law student, some questions are dumb but other questions are really DUMB. Not every industry is forgiving and some thrive on finding out what your personal weaknesses are. At least in my context, its better to ask a question after you have tried consulting the web or your research materials first before asking.  If you do your homework then ask a question, it might even impress the person you are asking.

Nevertheless, finding a simple question which may have a counter-intuitive answer is useful to listeners is great if you are conducting a radio interview.

b) Prompt to elicit a story

This is a useful tip which goes beyond radio interviews. It might even be useful in a date. The best questions elicit a story from someone else.

Try this one for size : "Describe a conversation you had with a loved one when you decided to use a dating app like Tinder to meet other people."

c) General fishing lures

 The book has a useful list of some fool-proof questions.

Here are some of my own so that this article would not ruin your experience of reading the book :

" If you could travel back in time to speak to your younger 25 old self, what would you say to him/her ? "
"If you could recreate your company from ground up, what would you change ?"




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