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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > Don’t ask the same question twice — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

Don’t ask the same question twice — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

February 24th, 2014

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If you want to truly endear yourself to your family, your co-workers, your boss, you business partners, your investors, everyone — endeavor to never ask the same question twice. When you ask a question of anyone, no matter who, make sure you capture the answer to that question for future reference. Even if you think you might never need that answer again, write it down. The fact is, you never know when or if a question is going to pop up again, so always err on the safer side and take notes so you never have to ask that question again.

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Why is asking the same question twice (more) such an issue? The problem doesn’t reside in the question itself but rather what it says about you as a person and your relationship with others. First, I think that asking the same question multiple times shows a lack of respect for those around you. You think it is easier to ask the person each time you need the answer instead of taking the time to learn the answer yourself. Instead of letting this person be a teacher or a mentor you are using them as the human equivalent of a filing cabinet. Even worse, your repetitive requests for the same answer impacts their work and takes their time away from solving the problems they need to solve. In some ways it shows that you think your time is worth more than theirs and that is simply rude.

Second, asking the same question more than once exhibits poor organizational and work skills to those around you. In any work situation, you want to demonstrate that you have the ability to grow in your work. You want to show can learn new skills and grow as an employee. Constantly asking the same questions makes it appear you either can’t, or don’t want to learn. Either of these is deadly to your career. Your managers will begin to question your worth and your co-workers will start to shun you. In many ways, you’ll simply become too much of a burden to keep around.

So, how do you retain and learn from all your questions? You first need to capture the questions and the answers you receive. I still carry a paper journal around for just such occasions. Even though I am big user of technology, it is often easier to jot down notes using pencil and paper than pulling out your smartphone or computer. Sure, you can enter the most important items into some computer system later, but capturing your questions and answers is always the first priority. Yes, it is easy to get wrapped up in solving a problem and forget to record the solution, but you are doing no one any favors when you do that. Help yourself and those around you by capturing this important information so you never have to ask for it again.

You also want to think about the answers you receive and see what new knowledge you can gain from them. Often one answer has many different applications in our lives far outside the area of the original question. Too often we move so quickly through life that we don’t take a moment to actually learn something. We ask the question, get the answer we need and then dash off to the next problem in line. If we don’t take a moment to actually think about our life and work, take a moment to actually learn something, we condemn ourselves of an endless treadmill of one question after another. Ask questions in order to learn something, not just solve the problem at hand.

I am sure we have all met, and even worked with, people who constantly ask you the same question again and again. We all know how frustrating that can become and yet we can sometimes do it ourselves, if only in smaller ways. Don’t ask the same question twice, if you can avoid it or unless you have a very good reason. Capture the answers you receive, put them to use and learn from them. If you do everyone will benefit – you, your coworkers, your business, your family. Most importantly, it will one more method of building the career that you deserve.


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