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How to Ask Stupid Questions (Without Sounding Stupid) - Career Transitions
Imagine this situation: You are in a meeting with your company's top executives and the CEO is presenting the company's strategic plan for the next financial year. As he winds up his presentation, he talks about how “the top management will touch base offline and come up with strategic action plans that we can run up the flag pole in order to reach some low hanging fruit and improve our ROI”. This stops you in your tracks. What did he mean by that? You want to raise your hand and ask what he meant but you first look around the room and see your colleagues nodding their heads in agreement. It appears to you that the others have perfectly understood everything that was said. Even though you have no clue as to what has been said, you avoid asking the question because you do not want to sound stupid. After the meeting, while having lunch with another colleague who was in the same meeting, she discloses that she has no clue what was said, but she chose to stay quiet because she didn't want to be sound stupid. No one likes to ask a question and come across as a stupid person. Doing so can cause embarrassment and make you look incompetent. However, in your professional life, you will inevitably come across situations that require you to ask questions and risk sounding dumb. This could be anything from asking for clarification in a meeting to asking your colleague to teach you something that you are expected to know or something that comes easily to others. The weight of not knowing something becomes heavier as you go higher up the corporate ladder, because the higher you are, the more people expect you to be knowledgeable. However, some situations will require you to ask such questions and therefore you will need to master the ...read more