Fear of Asking Question at Work? Never Again.

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Let's get honest about a Problem. Have you ever felt any of the followings in your professional career while attending a meeting or in a forum or to an Individual?

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  • 😕 I have an important doubt about this concept, should I ask?

  • 😡 Hmmm, I shall clarify this doubt from my 'best friend' who is also attending this meeting. He/She must be understanding it well. I'll ask him/her later! At the end of the meeting, we are on the same boat.

  • 😔 Should I interrupt the speaker and ask this question? No, Later is better!

  • 😳 I have a doubt. How to form this question correctly? Will I make a grammatical mistake?

  • 😨 I am a junior, let me not ask this question to this senior guy who is presenting in the meeting.

  • 😦 Not a big deal, anyway the meeting is being recorded. I'll view it later and understand. Why to ask now!

  • 😓 Let someone ask first. I don't want to be the black sheep!

  • 😑 I rather pretend to know it, wow that works!

  • 😟 Heart in beating fast. Oops, no one should pull me first to clarify anything.

  • 😮 This is all-hands meeting with the CEO. Man, How much guts that girl got to ask question to CEO!

If you have never felt any of the above, Great Going and keep it up! Now for the other folks(count me in) who felt any(or all) of the above, I have few things for you. Keep reading...

Self Realizations

Here are some realizations I got from my experience in dealing with the Fear of Asking Questions. All that I could do is, to share my learning with you and hoping, it will help.

No question is a Silly question

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(There's) no such thing as a stupid question

It is so very true and the most important mind set we need to have. If you have any assumption that, your question might turn out to be silly or dumb, it is the thought that needs to be smarter, not the question.

There are others with Same Questions

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One of the mistakes is assuming that, my Question is not important. This stops us from asking it and discussing it further. Believe me, there are others in the meeting room got similar doubts and may be thinking the same way you do. Hence the call for action is to, Just Ask!

You can't be a Pantomath

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Pantomath is a non-existent person who wants to know and knows everything. We stop ourselves from clarifying doubts many times just because we have a feeling of knowing it already. It is much wise to clarify things by asking it.

More Questions results in more Discussions

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Asking Questions in a meeting is like, having a good personal hygiene for the body. Questions lead to discussions, discussions lead to decision and conclusion. It is very healthy to have the culture of asking questions in a meeting/forum.

Asking Questions may earn you Respect

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As you may find that, many people do not take charge to ask questions(... and that is the motivation of this post), people who ask questions in a forum are looked upon as respected ones. Be among them!

Way forward..

Start with smaller forums

All that you would like to do to take the step forward in getting rid of the fear of Asking Questions, start with a small and known forum(or meeting). This helps to gain your confidence faster and gradually expand to other bigger forums. You know what? It is just a habit, once you get, YOU GOT IT!

Accept more Customer facing roles and responsibilities

I have also seen an amount of acceleration in killing this fear when we are put into a Customer Facing job . We need to learn doing it as mandatory as part of our Job, No other way out! So, Challenge Yourself!


Don't ask too many

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It is better to restrict yourself to maximum of 2-3 questions at a go. This is to make sure, the presenter/speaker doesn't lose interest in answering. A Check and Balance is always better.

Before we Wrap Up

You may want to watch this Inspiring video(just 96 seconds) by Ken Okel

To end it, there is a famous Saying, "He who asks question remains a fool for 5 minutes. He who does not ask, remains a fool forever". The Choice is with us.

Hope you find it useful. Please share your thoughts in the Comment section of the post.

Comments (3)

Sandeep Panda's photo

Excellent post! This is applicable to all professions and even to students. As an undergrad, I asked very few questions because of the reasons you just mentioned. But when I look back, I realize that it was a mistake. One should cultivate the habit of asking questions as a student so that they stick to that habit in their professional life as well. Thanks for writing this piece -- very inspiring.

Tapas Adhikary's photo

☝ UI/UX Enthusiast | 💻 Work @MicroFocus | ✍️ Blogger | 👨‍🏫 Mentor | ğŸŽ¤ Speaker | 🍟 Foodie

Sandeep Panda Thanks! Yeah, there are not much room for us to learn and grow without asking questions and clarifying doubts.. I am still learning to get smarter at it 😆.

Joseph S Stevens's photo

10 years of Software Development, Husband, Father and Functional Programming enthusiast.

Oh man, I can't speak to how valuable a skill this is. Kudos for sharing this great advice!!