Fear of asking questions at work? Never again
Hey there! I am going to ask you a few questions. Let's get honest about it. Have you ever felt any of the following in your professional career while attending a meeting/session?
😕 I have an essential doubt about this concept, should I ask?
😡 Hmmm, I shall clarify this doubt from my 'best friend' attending this meeting. He/She must be understanding it well. I'll ask him/her later!
Alas! At the end of the session, we are in 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 presenting in the meeting.
😦 Not a big deal; anyway, the meeting is being recorded. I'll view it later and understand. Why ask now!
😓 Let someone ask first. I don't want to be the black sheep!
😑 I instead pretend to know it; wow, that works!
😟 Heart is beating fast. Oops, no one should pull me first to clarify anything.
😮 This is an all-hands meeting with the CEO. Man, How much guts that girl got to ask questions to the CEO!
If you have never ever 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!
Talking about Self Realizations
Here are some realizations I have got from my experiences in dealing with the Fear of Asking Questions. All that I can do is, share my learning with you and hope you find it helpful.
No question is a Silly question
Image Courtesy: unawe.org/updates/unawe-update-1544
(There's) no such thing as a stupid question
It is so wildly accurate and the most crucial mindset 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 the Same Questions
One of the mistakes is assuming that my question is not essential. It stops us from asking it and discussing it further. Believe me, others in the meeting room got similar doubts and maybe thinking the same way you do. Hence the call for action is to, Ask!
You can't be Know-It-All
You may not know everything. At the same time, you may have a feeling of knowing it. We stop ourselves from clarifying doubts many times just because we have a feeling of knowing them already. It is much wise to get clarification by asking it.
More Questions results in more Discussions
Asking Questions in a meeting is like having good personal hygiene for the body. Questions lead to discussions, and discussions lead to decisions and conclusions. It is very healthy to have the culture of asking questions in a meeting/forum.
Asking Questions may earn you Respect
As you may find, many people do not 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!
Start with Smaller Forums
All that you may want to do is, start with a small and known forum(or meeting). It helps to gain your confidence faster and gradually expand to other more prominent venues. You know what? It becomes a habit once you realize, YOU GOT IT!
Accept more Customer-facing roles and Responsibilities
I have also seen an acceleration in killing this fear when we are put into a Customer Facing job. We need to learn to do it as mandatory as part of our Job, No other way out! So, Challenge Yourself!
It helps when you have someone to inspire and motivate you at work. Maybe a senior or a friend, peer who you look up to can be helpful in getting rid of it. You can learn how he/she deals with the situations, discuss them, and try it in your own way.
A Word of Caution
Don't Ask too Many
It is better to restrict yourself to a maximum of 2-3 questions at a go. It is to make sure the presenter/speaker doesn't lose interest in answering. A Check and Balance is always better.
Before We Wrap Up
That's all. I hope you find it useful. Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below. We can connect on Twitter(@tapasadhikary), where I share my knowledge as well.
Let's end this article with a famous saying,
He who asks a question remains a fool for 5 minutes. He who does not ask remains a fool forever.
So, the Choice is with us.
All the gifs are from, https://giphy.com
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.