I was chatting with someone about what to do when someone asks you a question in a meeting. If you are fine with where everything is heading or you’re not sure what to ask, should you simply say you don’t have any questions?
That may seem like the natural answer.
I suggested another one: Go ahead and ask a great strategic thinking question.
It is always better to respond to a request for questions with a question versus saying you are completely set (whether you are or not) and have no need for more information.
In these situations, asking a positive, open-ended question:
- Suggests that you’ve been listening very closely
- Puts the attention back on the other person
- Provides an opportunity for the other person to clarify
The next natural question in our conversation was about what types of strategic thinking questions to ask.
While I think there’s a Brainzooming blog post for this, it was almost faster to write a new, updated list of questions than to find the post. (That’s why having a book of Brainzooming creative leadership ideas all in one place will be so handy!)
21 Strategic Thinking Questions When You Have Nothing to Ask
Here are 21 updated strategic thinking questions with varied purposes you can use when someone asks you if you have any questions:
Create More Room to Elaborate
- Can you talk about that more?
- How will it work?
- What is most intriguing to you about the idea?
Seek Additional Background
- Is that a typical approach that you take?
- What brought you to that conclusion?
- What other ideas did you consider before arriving at that?
Explore Potential Impact
- What are some upsides to this approach?
- What types of impacts should / can we expect?
- Did you look at this idea relative to others and their expected impacts?
- Are there other areas in which we can apply this?
- What other initiatives could branch off from doing this?
- What other initiatives could get new life when we introduce this initiative?
Identify Success Factors
- What do we need to pave the way for success?
- Who will need to be involved to make this successful?
- Can we depend on existing capabilities or will we need new ones to make this work?
Understand Previous Experience
- What does your experience tell you about how this will work in our situation?
- How have you used this idea in other situations?
- How does that differ from other things you’ve tried?
Push for More Innovation
- Is that a new idea / approach?
- What are other alternatives you considered (or are under consideration)?
- How does this approach improve on what’s been done before?
Given all that, do you have any questions? – Mike Brown