2. Ask better questions

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Asking better questions will help you unlock the next league of critical thinking and problem solving. 

You can learn a lot just by evaluating the information you have, and forming thoughtful follow-up questions to type into Google or ask an expert or colleague.

Here are three types of questions you could ask.

Open-ended questions

An open-ended question requires more than a simple “yes” of “no answer. These questions often start with:

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why
  • How 

For example, if you ask someone “do you like dogs?”, they can answer yes or no. 

If you ask them “why do you like dogs?”, they are required to give more information and context.

Asking these open-ended questions can help you uncover unexpected but relevant information to whatever it is you are gathering research on.

Outcome-based questions

This type of question is great to use with an older mentor, someone you admire for their critical thinking skills, your manager or your parents.

It’s a bit cheeky as it is sort of like asking for the answer.

When you think someone else’s experience and skills could help you think more effectively, ask them a “how” question.

For example, “how would you respond to XX” or “how would you act in this hypothetical situation?”

Reflective questions

You can ask someone about their past experiences or gain insight into how someone previously solved an issue with reflective questions.

Even better, when you ask someone to reflect on their critical thinking journey, you will improve your own by gaining insight from their individual evaluation and processes.

Have a curious mindset when asking someone reflective questions about a past event. If they are willing to share, think about what details or information you want to know and follow your instinct.

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