As a young professional, you are fairly new to the workplace and are eager to learn the tricks of the trade in your industry. Take this time in your career to act as a sponge, soaking up all of the knowledge you can and exploring your interests. During this time, your mind is malleable and lots of more seasoned professionals will be around to offer you words of wisdom. Listening is only half the battle, however. In order gain the most out of any interaction, whether it be a seminar, meeting, or casual conversation, it is important to ask “why”. Probe for understanding and you’ll gain more than expected. Here’s why:
1. It helps you gain a deeper understanding.
The first and most obvious reason to ask “why” is to learn. Rather than smiling and nodding when you don’t understand, grasp at the opportunity to learn and grow.
2. You’ll learn their logic and reasoning.
Rather than accepting everything you hear at face value, asking “why” will help you learn about a person’s logic and reasoning behind what they’ve said. Understanding this can give you insight into how a person thinks and how and when to interact them moving forward.
3. It shows that you are interested.
When someone is interested in a conversation, they tend to ask questions. Show that you are interested by asking “why”. Not only will the person you are speaking with engage with you on a deeper level, but they will feel that you value their insight and opinion.
4. It helps you decipher the real from the fake.
The fact that someone speaks with confidence does not mean that what they’re saying is true. Asking “why” can be a secretive way of fact checking mid conversation.
5. It will help you become more confident.
Often times people shy away from asking questions because they think it makes them look weak or ignorant. That’s not the case at all. If you pay attention to who asks during a meeting, you will notice it’s usually the more established members of a team who are confident enough to admit when they don’t know something.