8 Tips for Asking Better Questions

“How can I ask better questions?” is a common question among those who want to increase their skill in spiritual conversations. The good news is it’s just that: a skill that can be learned! This means it takes practice and intention and time.

Is it worth it? Let’s hear it from these voices:

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious. The important thing is not to stop questioning.
Albert Einstein

All our knowledge results from questions . . . question-asking is our most important intellectual tool.
Neil Postman, noted educator

My mother made me a scientist without ever intending to. Every other Jewish mother in Brooklyn would ask her child after school, “So? Did you learn anything today?” But not my mother. “Izzy,” she would say, “did you ask a good question today?” That difference—asking good questions—made me become a scientist.
Isidor Isaac Rabi, Nobel laureate scientist


(From “How Can You Become a Better Questioner?” posted at

  1. Questioners pay close attention to the world around them. They watch and try to notice details others miss. They listen closely to what others are saying, which helps them understand what questions to ask.
  2. Questioners don’t assume or accept. (As in, “That’s the just the way things are.”) They ask, “Why are things that way?”
  3. Questioners are unafraid to ask the most basic questions—even if some people may think those questions are obvious or naïve. Asking the fundamental questions can help the questioner to challenge assumptions.
  4. Questioners dig deep. They use follow-up questions to get to the real heart of the matter.
  5. Questioners use their imagination to pose “What if?” questions that open up fresh new possibilities and ideas. (What if we look at this upside down? What if we combine X and Y?)
  6. Questioners share their questions with others—to get help and ideas from people who are interested in the same question. (How might we figure this out together?)
  7. Questioners don’t always expect to get answers right away. Sometimes you must “live with” an important question—and spend time thinking about it, working on it, grappling with it.
  8. Questioners move from asking to action. Start with Why, move to What if, and try to get to How—as in, How can we do something, anything, that will help us get a little closer to an answer?

Did you know that this is National Questions Week? Find out more at