• The site has been updated!

    If you see any bugs, please report them in this thread.

How to Ask Better Questions

Force Healer

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2017
35
24
86
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
This past week I traveled to meet with a faculty member from a medical school I am very interested in attending. I was hoping to do some light networking with him to lay the groundwork for an ongoing professional relationship. He's fairly known and I was really nervous and a little quiet, and I guess it came off that way because he recommended that I learn to ask more pointed, specific questions because that is a sign of intelligence. He said that I should practice by asking random people such as baristas, people on the street, etc. to build my confidence. My question is, how have you guys learned what questions to ask to get to know people, especially doctors? Are there any books on the art of asking questions? Sorry if this is confusing, and thanks a bunch!
 

AttemptingScholar

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Apr 1, 2016
625
556
91
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Interesting that he brought that up...

This question is a little confusing, though. Are you trying to figure out how to ask specific questions or how to be better at small talk? Those are related but different skills.

For Specific Questions:
1. I practiced this skill in math class. Instead of "I don't get it" I taught myself how to ask "Where did the cosine come from in step three?" Figuring out what you want to ask is, by itself, a large part of the process.
2. When you want to ask a question, consider already a follow-up you could ask. Would that follow up be a better, more specific question?
3. Ask questions that require short answers. Yes-or-no and either-or questions require you to think about phrasing, and they can always elaborate or qualify their answer.

For Getting To Know People
1. Practice body language. What you feel yourself doing may not look obvious on someone else. How would a book describe what they're doing (crossing arms in annoyance, fidgeting to show impatience, etc.)
2. Asking about someone else is not an opportunity to talk about yourself, especially with a potential mentor. "Why did you choose this specialty? What resources and experiences did you use?" is not the same thing as "[Five minutes talking about your meager patient contact as a pre-med] so I really feel like I understand what I'm getting into and I really value [two minutes of generalized 'values' that everyone has] so what do you think I should specialize in?"
3. In that vein, act like your goal is to talk as little as possible while getting them to talk as much as possible.

Hope any of this helps!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Jun 11, 2010
66,297
2
102,126
276
Somewhere west of St. Louis
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
This past week I traveled to meet with a faculty member from a medical school I am very interested in attending. I was hoping to do some light networking with him to lay the groundwork for an ongoing professional relationship. He's fairly known and I was really nervous and a little quiet, and I guess it came off that way because he recommended that I learn to ask more pointed, specific questions because that is a sign of intelligence. He said that I should practice by asking random people such as baristas, people on the street, etc. to build my confidence. My question is, how have you guys learned what questions to ask to get to know people, especially doctors? Are there any books on the art of asking questions? Sorry if this is confusing, and thanks a bunch!
Get a job, any job, that has customer contact.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2 users
About the Ads
@Miss Anatomist The faculty member implied that you are lacking a certain intelligence, but typing it out blatantly is against the SDN TOS. To put it more bluntly without being blatant, he's recommending that you socialize more with other people in order to increase your intelligence in this area of study.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

cossackdoc

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Dec 28, 2016
26
35
21
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Interesting that he brought that up...

This question is a little confusing, though. Are you trying to figure out how to ask specific questions or how to be better at small talk? Those are related but different skills.

For Specific Questions:
1. I practiced this skill in math class. Instead of "I don't get it" I taught myself how to ask "Where did the cosine come from in step three?" Figuring out what you want to ask is, by itself, a large part of the process.
2. When you want to ask a question, consider already a follow-up you could ask. Would that follow up be a better, more specific question?
3. Ask questions that require short answers. Yes-or-no and either-or questions require you to think about phrasing, and they can always elaborate or qualify their answer.

For Getting To Know People
1. Practice body language. What you feel yourself doing may not look obvious on someone else. How would a book describe what they're doing (crossing arms in annoyance, fidgeting to show impatience, etc.)
2. Asking about someone else is not an opportunity to talk about yourself, especially with a potential mentor. "Why did you choose this specialty? What resources and experiences did you use?" is not the same thing as "[Five minutes talking about your meager patient contact as a pre-med] so I really feel like I understand what I'm getting into and I really value [two minutes of generalized 'values' that everyone has] so what do you think I should specialize in?"
3. In that vein, act like your goal is to talk as little as possible while getting them to talk as much as possible.

Hope any of this helps!

This answer is very well stated, and captures the essence of communication skills. The only addition I would add is practice these suggestions in a variety of settings until it starts to become more natural for you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Force Healer

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2017
35
24
86
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
Thanks for everyone's responses! I think a big obstacle in my way is that I tend to be more of an introverted person (I know talking is a big part of many medical specialties) so I'm definitely gonna use your guys's tips for getting out of my shell and hopefully I'll come off as more confident and intelligent!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
About the Ads
This thread is more than 3 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.