Ask and You Shall Do Well
By André van Heerden, Communications Director
When I was in high school, I always laughed when I heard my friends talk about being in a class with my younger brother. They said he’d drive every teacher nuts with his unending barrage of questions. No matter how obvious, obscure, minute, or disconnected a topic or detail might be, he’d ask about it.
Yet those same students all commented that while the teachers groaned when my brother raised his hand, the students loved it because they all benefited from his acute inquisition. When he finally ran out of questions, everyone knew exactly what the teacher wanted and how to ace the assignment.
Many years later, I now encourage my children to ask questions—just like their successful/crazy uncle whom they admire. Their questions not only show interest and increase participation, the answers provide them with added knowledge about what they’re required to do. In some instances, their questions even help teachers catch something that they hadn’t thought about. And for anyone who has ever felt bored or unattached to a topic, force yourself to ask a question and see how quickly you become interested.
Questions often have unexpected results as well. Recently I heard a news report about how credit card companies will often give their customers better interest rates and better service fees if customers simply ask for them. I’ve sometimes found the same thing with phone companies and banks. There’s certainly no harm in asking and in these cases there can be significant financial benefit.
And while you may not always get the benefit or answer you want, you’re making a connection to someone just by asking a question. When I’m talking in front of a group, or coaching soccer, I feel the best about how it’s going when someone asks a question. It means my audience is interested in what I’m presenting, and it keeps the presentation fresh and new. Not only that, but out of everyone that I’m talking to, I’m now going to remember the person asking questions. I bet my brother’s teachers still remember him!
The biblical adage of, “ask and it shall be given you” is true. You may not always be given what you’re asking for, but there are great advantages to simply asking questions.