Ask great questions, get better answers
Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” ― Voltaire
What do you want?
Are you seeking factual information, opinions or a well reasoned judgement? Know what you are looking for and it can help you ask the right questions!
When I ask a client what it is that they are looking for in a project, I start by asking if they have a solid idea of what they need, or a concept that they think they might like, or perhaps they are completely lost and they need 100% guidance from me.
By knowing what I want out of the questioning, I can ask the right questions to get the answers I need.
Yes or No?
I know you’ve probably heard that you should never ask Yes or No questions because they wont lead you to open ended answers. “Do you like red?” vs. “How do you feel about red” can give you very different impressions on what your client is thinking. If you client says “yes” to the first example question, where do you go from there? Do you just assume all reds are okay and you can make red the primary color for their project? If you ask the later question though, your client is more likely to respond with something like “I love red, but it can be a bit strong for my brand and I don’t want to overpower the content.” That gives you a clear understanding and a place to jumpstart more discussion.
As a client, you should communicate clearly and openly with your creative by following the same guidelines. Ask open ended questions, start conversations and you will find yourself meeting on common ground quite quickly.
The power of silence
The best way to get great answers to your questions, is to ask them, then be quiet. Listen to the answer, don’t just fumble into asking your question again in different words. Don’t spent more time explaining what you meant….just sit…..just listen. If you don’t get a clear answer toy our question after taking your time to listen to what they have to say, then;
Ask more open ended questions, ask for clarification, and most importantly don’t assume anything.