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Typically when you’re asked questions, others are looking for answers. At times, answers aren’t the best answers, though.

I updated a recent blog post on how a mid-career professional can create a social media presence with a post-presentation video explaining the 11 steps covered at the live session. The video’s addition changed the nature of the post, and I tweeted it with an updated title.  Sharon Corasaro (@GrowingGold on Twitter) answered the tweet with several great tweets about the post, followed by a detailed comment on the post itself.

Based on Sharon’s receptivity to the topic, I asked if she’d like a longer article on the 11 steps we’d been kicking around as a potential ebook from The Brainzooming Group.  She said she would, and I asked for her thoughts on the content’s value since we had varying perspectives about it.

Sharon’s email response, rather than being the simple “liked it / didn’t like it / and here’s why” answer I expected, was an incredibly thorough set of questions. She asked questions about the piece’s intent, what we hoped to accomplish with it as an ebook, and what the plan was for distributing it to the target audience.

I asked for answers, and Sharon gave me questions.

But you know what?

The questions provided exactly the answers I needed.

In replying to her email and thinking about the questions, a completely new idea for how the content could be used emerged. I hadn’t considered this strategy before, but it could well be a much higher impact way to distribute the content and benefit an important audience for us.

I wanted fast answers, and Sharon offered incredibly thought-provoking strategic questions.

There’s a big lesson there: the next time somebody’s looking to you to answer a question or solve a problem for them, the most beneficial thing you can do may very well be to answer with a question instead. – Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at [email protected] or call 816-509-5320 to learn how we’ve helped brands get to great answers using just the right questions.