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Asking questions

Build Your Career- Do This (Asking Questions–#1 Skill for English Communication)

Right away–Do This to Boost Your Career and Influence——Ask Questions-


Experts report that increasing skills in asking questions and voice inflection are the two skills which fastest boost the careers of native-born speakers of English. If that is true for native-born speakers, it is true for nonnative-born speakers.

Asking questions builds relationship and rapport.  Asking questions enables you to get the information you need and to clarify information.  Asking questions gets involvement in communication and makes dialogue.

Sometimes international people and native born English speakers feel uncomfortable with asking questions. It’s not complicated! Two goals of asking questions are to get facts and to get opinions.

To get facts:

  1. “When did you begin work on the plan?”
  2. “How many employees are available for this task?”
  3. “What are the dimensions of the house?”
  4. “Which car reached the intersection first?”

Easiest and most direct question to get opinions:

What do you think of that?

English Communication Skill: Get More Out of Listening — Ask Questions

English Communication Skill: Get More Out of Listening — Ask questions!


No one says everything you want to hear in the best order, depth, and detail. What to do?  You must ask questions to get the information you want or need.

In the American culture, etiquette prohibits us from  rapid-fire questions. Do questions are not confrontational, but simple easy-to-understand questions to elicit specific information.


Don’t be shy or embarrassed about asking someone to clarify a statement which has an unfamiliar word or acronym.  Many use jargon or language of their profession when they talk.  Ask the meanings of those words.

More difficult is the situation when you are in the same industry and the other person assumes you know the meaning of words that he or she is using.  You may feel embarrassed to ask for the meaning under that circumstance because you think you should know.  There are a few good ways to handle this situation.  My favorite is this , “Just to be sure that we are using our vocabulary in the same way, tell me exactly how you define ABC.”  And when the other person defines a term for you, you can respond:

  • That’s great. We use the phrase the same way.
  • Glad I asked; we use that phrase a little differently, but we can go with your definition.
  • I just learned something new.


Negotiations require special concern. If you think the other person is using a term drastically different than you are accustomed and some real damage may be done if you use the word their way instead of your way in a negotiation, say “We should define that term in the written agreement so others won’t get confused.  You and I know what we are talking about, but we want to be sure that everyone else does, too.”  Don’t get into a battle over definitions.

What about making your English speech pronunciation more accurate? Be Watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.