Salt enhances the flavor of food. Virtually invisible, it is powerful in its effect. Search, is as ubiquitous as food. Both are so entrenched in our lives that we take them for granted,
Search, by itself, can be akin to wandering. Looking at new or different things just for the sake of seeing them and quickly moving on. For example, if I wanted to learn more about soccer I would search soccer, maybe end up looking at the professional teams in England, and jump to articles about the World Cup.
Search can be non-digital as well. Such as looking for a new job or contemplating a new career. Or trying to decide if you should move to a new city. Or going to a shopping mall to buy some clothes. Why even asking someone for advice or help or knowledge qualifies as a type of non-digital search.
The question “what are you trying to do” can be the salt that makes search more powerful. By considering this question before doing something, you can more quickly decide if something new that you find fits.
Surprisingly, the same holds true when you seek out another person’s help. The more context you can give them around the answer to the question of “what you are trying to do”, can make all of the difference in what they tell you. Their answer will be more targeted and specific, just like all of your digital searches when you start by stating what you are trying to do.
We mistakenly assume that by going to a professional and giving them our history or facts around our issue is enough for them to be helpful. Their feedback when only this occurs, ends up being more generic without us even knowing it. When we take the time to share what it is we are trying to do, we increase the odds that their feedback, suggestions, or advice better fits the solution we are seeking and will be more helpful.
Saving time becomes a side benefit of this approach. Feedback from others becomes more effective. Your search results become more helpful.
All by simply answering the question “what are you trying to do” first.