Have you ever been in a meeting where, at the end, the leader asks “Any questions?”
It is an innocuous question. In fact, it sounds as though the leader is open-minded and encouraging questions and discussion. Often, though, the question is offered in the unsaid but implicit tone that the leader has made everything so clear in the previous discussion that only a fool would have questions.
The result? No questions are asked and the meeting is concluded even though some confusion still exists.
Contrast this with this question: What are your questions?
The latter assumes there must be questions. It also expresses a real modesty on behalf of the leader because it assumes that in spite of his or her best efforts the leader has likely failed to covey his ideas clearly to everyone present.
The result? Real questions are asked and everyone leaves with more clarity.
Interested in other ideas about how asking new questions can help you unlearn? Check out these old posts: