Simple Not Stupid

Do stupid questions exist? Or only unrefined ones? Researching your questions prior to bringing them to someone else really helps you hone your inquiries and polish your self presentation. Check out my bit of a rant on questions and expectations.

Are you surprised when people come to you with simple questions? So am I sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m one who thinks that there are no stupid or silly question. Nevertheless, please do a little bit of research before coming to see me — before coming to see anyone.

Not so long ago, when people needed information, they had to go to a library. You know, that brick building with piles of bounded paper pages, sorted by categories and author name? Where you barely knew where to start and hoped that the librarian — that grand wizard of all things literary — could help you out. Gathering information seemed like following Indiana Jones avoiding all the traps, going through the dusted artefacts, to end up finding the treasure. This treasure was the book you held in your hands after hours of research. That was the real deal!

LinkedIn should integrate Library digging as a skill to add to one’s profile.

Now that you’ve got the almighty Google, the penultimate of all libraries, at your disposal, why on earth wouldn’t you check there first for answers you can gather, and only then come to the right person for more in-depth, personal, situational, experience-based answer.

I’ll show you how it’s done: Link

Opening one tab and typing your question. Is it the muscle of your index finger that gets fatigue when you’re trying to achieve this marathonish feat? Are all the tabs too confusing? Can’t find the search box behind that pesky magnifying glass icon? Please open my mind on this one and share with me in the comments the underlying reason.

I would have a hard time working as a customer support person. With the questions barrage they get every day, they must see so many queries that could be easily answered from Google or other search engine of choice.

On my side, I love HubSpot. They have a Live chat where you can ask all your questions. You get quick answers, and it is by far the best support experience I’ve found from all the CRMs I tried so far.

I tend to abuse HubSpot availability because I want to save time. I’m guilty of the same lack of Google search I was mentioned previously 🙈. Well… I still insert two or three queries in the search engine to get an answer. If I don’t get it, I assume HubSpot could have shared their information better, it’s on them 🙊.

After someone gets back to me, within the first couple questions I’m able to gauge if it’s going to take ages to solve the issue, or if they are going to be quick.

The quality and pertinence of the questions tell a lot about a person.

This is not just a frivolous annoyance. Honing your question skills by doing a bit of prior research could actually yield productive results in your life. For instance: landing a job. When during a job interview you ask basic common questions, the recruiter may directly notice how unprepared you are. On the other hand, if you happen to have done your research, you’ll raise interest out of the recruiter. He or she will assume that you know your stuff, and have a solid profile. So questions like, “How many employees do you have?” Are pretty basic, perhaps even annoying. But an informed, layered question like, “I noticed from your website you have N employees, are those mostly based in the UK or abroad?” may actually raise eyebrows instead of induce eyerolls.

So, I’d like to add the following: There are no stupid questions — but try to answer them by yourself first, and then share the remaining ones aloud. It could mean the difference between looking lazy or looking informed.

Follow on LinkedIn