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Why Did You Ask Me That?

Partners' Network Blog

My standard response to many questions is “Why are you asking me that question?” Most times the reason is obvious to the asker, but it is usually not the right question or it is a question designed to get a response that will not answer what they want to know.

With professional questions I have found that most people ask them in a way that they think I would want it asked, or in a way that absolves them of culpability, or where they want to confirm an action they already did and want an acknowledgement of how astute they are. None of my responses could help them. My asking why is intended to have them open up about what they are really trying to find out. A few probing questions by me usually gets the real reason the question was asked.

There is nothing terrible about being asked the wrong question as long as I make sure I respond with what they really want to know. Also, I am used to it, and the way I handle it has become second nature to me so I either help the person with the answer they are seeking or I pass on it preferring not to spend time where it cannot result in any benefit to them.

A suggestion to my readers is to ask themselves “why?” when they decide to ask a question and before they ask it. Whether it is to an accountant, an attorney, physician, dentist, electrician, handyman, plumber or anyone else they are seeking help from. Ask yourself why and perhaps you will either figure out the answer or become clearer about what you are actually trying to find out.
If you have any questions, I am available for your questions at emendlowitz@withum.com or by filling out the form below.

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