Why you need the skill of asking questions for success

“Asking questions is the most powerful source of renewable intellectual energy”, is a famous quote from Ron Rothstein that I fully support.


Asking questions is extremely important for the successful growth and development of our business.

We gain knowledge by asking questions.

We need knowledge to make good decisions in business.

We need energy to keep on delving through questions to the root of a problem or issue that we want to solve.

Therefore, if we can develop a technique to gain more intellectual energy in order to make good decisions, the chance of our business success will be greatly enhanced.

An issue often written about is the fact that the skill of asking questions is, to our detriment, much neglected. In our schools, colleges and business development programs, not nearly enough attention is being paid to the development of this vital skill. People are generally unaware of the benefits that can be gained for them in business and in their personal life, by asking the right questions.

The businessperson must become aware of this technique, learn how to use it, and develop the habit of using it.


The benefits of asking questions can be broadly divided into two categories:

  • Those questions focusing on gaining knowledge
  • Those questions focusing on developing interpersonal relationships

This article will address the first category — that is, being used in decision making in business.


I want to expose you to the need to develop this skill and the habit of asking questions by referring to two TED videos. These feature such good and convincing arguments about the necessity to master and use this technique that nobody will be left untouched by it.

Some benefits of mastering the skill of asking questions

Why you need the skill of asking questions for success

Asking questions is a vital skill each of us needs to develop. It helps us to:

  • Gain knowledge. Without the necessary knowledge, we cannot make the correct decision.
  • Define problems more accurately, thus getting more effective solutions to our problems.
  • Learn and acquire new skills and knowledge, better and quicker.
  • Understand how much more there is to be learned.
  • Develop new thinking abilities.
  • Establish a basis to communicate facts.
  • Refine ideas and develop new ones.
  • Clarify our ideas and thinking on a subject.
  • View an issue from a different perspective that we may not have previously considered.
  • Think more clearly by giving us an improved perspective.

Asking questions is a skill that has changed the personal and business lives of many people.

Watch this video by Dan Rothstein on TED to learn more:

How to ask good questions

Why ask questions? How to ask good questions?

  • By asking questions we can go from the known to the unknown. We can think the unthinkable through the questions we ask.
  • Asking questions is a vital tool and technique for solving personal and business related problems.
  • It is important to generate as many questions as possible about the problem or issue we are faced with. Analyze these different questions and determine which of them the best worth pursuing for an answer is.
  • The problems we are often faced with when trying to make a decision, is that we try to solve them immediately. Instead, we should ask more questions to get clarity about the issue that we are faced with. Try to improve the questions until you find the best question worth answering about the underlying issue.
  • Thus develop the technique of asking more questions.
  • Understand the importance of asking questions.
  • Develop the skills to ask questions.

Through the generation of good questions you can generate answers and solutions that are, or were, unthinkable.

Watch this TED video by David Stork to learn more about this vital tool.

Some snippets from experts on the importance of asking questions

  • “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.“ – Socrates
  • “My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.” – Peter Drucker
  • “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” – Voltaire
  • “Ask the right questions if you’re going to find the right answers.” – Vanessa Redgrave
  • “The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge”. – Thomas Berger
  • “If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.” – W. Edwards Deming
  • “Leadership is less about having the right answers and more about having the right questions”. – Michael Hyatt.
  • “The one who asks questions doesn’t lose his way.”– African Proverb
  • “Leadership is not so much about knowing the right answers; it is about knowing the right questionsBob Tiede.

Some last thoughts on asking questions

Why you need the skill of asking questions for success

The ability to think critically is vital for our success in our personal and business life. It is skill that must be developed.

It is a habit that must be used in daily.

What is the most important question we must ask?

“How could I do this better next time?”

“What worked well and what didn’t work well with what we just did?”

Keep in mind that every time Edison failed with the light bulb, he would ask himself a series of questions, including: “Why did this fail?” It was asking that same question 10,000 times that led to the invention of the light bulb. He never felt he failed 10,000 times – he just learned how to not invent a light bulb 10,000 times. If he had not asked that question he would not have succeeded.

Learn this lesson from Edison, apply it: remember it is the questions that drive us – the more powerful, the more successful. Use this powerful source of renewable energy to achieve your dreams. You can generate solutions that you may have considered unthinkable!