Questions appear simple on the surface. Either requiring an explanation or an obligation to do something for someone else. An example of a question seeking an explanation might be “What does a catalytic converter do in a car?”. Seeking an obligation from someone else might be “Can you cook my favorite dinner tonight?”.
Beyond these examples, there is much more nuance when it comes to questions. The intent of a question, your level of curiousity, how interested you are in a topic, how important it is for you to find an answer to your specific situation, how knowledgeable you are on the topic your inquiring about, or if you are out to just prove you are right to others. All of these things impact the value of their answers.
Questions are never equal. They can be helpful or useless. Tools that provide leverage for what we are trying to do or too weak or ill formed to yield any new insights. They can provide us with direction through their answer or leave us lost in a fog when we don’t understand what we are told.
Humans are not the best at listening. Sometimes attaching too much importance to the answer we hear. Other times, missing the value of an answer. Many times fearful to ask the next question so that we don’t look dumb to others.
Sometimes one question can provide enough information for you. Other times, it may take multiple questions to get closer to new understanding or knowledge. Our interest in the discussion topic plays a big role here on how inquisitive you might be. We do get lazy. Accepting things with the first answer rather than thinking through different possibilities leading up to our next question.
Asking questions is a skill to be practiced. Constantly assessing the gaps in our knowledge or understanding and using questions to help us find our way. They can be so much more than a simple “can you” or “what is” if we just spend more time using them.