No matter your role, critical thinking — the ability to effectively break down and analyze an issue in order to find a solution — will be core to your success. And at the heart of critical thinking is the ability to formulate effective questions. Here are a few ways to boost your ability to do this.
- Hold your hypotheses loosely. Good questions can lead you to fundamentally reconsider your initial assumptions — but you have to be willing to do so without defensiveness.
- Listen more than you talk. Active listening allows you to fully grasp another point of view, making it easier to question your own assumptions and biases.
- Leave your queries open-ended. Avoid asking yes-or-no questions. Instead, try to get the respondent to open up at length.
- Consider the counterintuitive. Every group needs someone who’s unafraid to challenge the status quo, in case you do need to change course.
- Sleep on it. A good night’s rest can actually help your brain see a problem more clearly.