One of the best ways to show you’re paying attention is by asking intelligent questions in meetings, whether it is held face-to-face or online. Doing so helps you gain a more thorough understanding of the subject being discussed. Also, knowing how to ask questions in meetings makes you look smart and helps establish trust with your co-workers and boss.
That said, this only applies to intelligent questions. Asking pointless questions only makes you a fool in front of your boss and co-workers. Nobody wants to look like a fool by asking the odd questions to ask your manager during meetings, right? This is also one of the reasons why employees are hesitant to ask questions during discussions.
To avoid these incidents, here are 6 secret tips you should know to come up with good questions to ask during meetings.
Come Prepared for the Meeting.
If you want to start asking intelligent questions in meetings, you need to prepare yourself before attending. And I don’t mean just making yourself look presentable. You should also know the meeting’s agenda, so you can study the topic beforehand. This helps you find the parts that are unclear to you, so you can ask them to the presenter.
Listen Attentively During the Meeting.
Aside from coming in prepared for a meeting, you should also ensure you’re not just physically present but mentally too. Besides being a sign of respect, giving your full attention to the presenter will help you better understand the meeting’s agenda. This will then help you come up with more intelligent questions to ask later on.
Besides helping you come up with intelligent questions, listening well also keeps you from making pointless ones. A common mistake by some employees is asking about something already answered by the presenter within their presentation. Doing so may offend the presenter, as it shows you’re uninterested in what they’re talking about.
Word Your Questions to Be More Open-ended.
One trick you can use to make it more like you’re asking intelligent questions in meetings is to make them open-ended questions. Open-ended questions are questions asking someone their comments or opinions on a topic. This helps keep the conversation rolling, as the presenter can’t just answer what you asked with a yes or no response.
Examples of these types include: “What do you think are the risks of doing x activity for us?”, “How will these changes help us reach our monthly goals?” and “Help me understand this part of your presentation…”.
Avoid Apologizing for Asking a Question.
Whenever you ask the presenter a question, never start with an apology. First of all, why are you sorry? It’s not like your presence isn’t welcome in the meeting or you’re interrupting someone. Apologizing for asking intelligent questions in meetings will make you look meek in front of your co-workers, leading them to not take you seriously.
Never Ask More Than 2 Questions at the Same Time.
Asking questions is nice, but there is such a thing as too many questions being asked by one person. Aside from annoying the presenter, asking too many questions can also deprive others of the opportunity to ask their own questions.
With this in mind, try to limit the number of questions you ask during meetings to 2. In addition, be sure to ask the most crucial question you have last. This is because presenters usually answer the second question, since it’s the most recent one they remember. If you have further questions, you can try holding onto them and asking at a later time instead.
Refer to the Last Meeting’s Minutes.
Referring to the minutes or records of the meeting is another great way to ask intelligent questions and avoid repeating previously asked ones. To help you keep track of the discussion, why not jot down the essential information you gained in a notebook or on your laptop. You can also share it on your group’s group chat so all your co-workers can see it.
Contrary to what people think, asking questions is not always a sign of you not paying attention during meetings. Asking intelligent questions in meetings helps improve everyone’s understanding of the topic and opens new insights into it.
To help you make these kinds of questions, here are 6 secrets to asking intelligent questions you should know. With these, you’ll be more confident in asking your questions.