The aim of this chapter is to show the importance of asking questions; there would be no form of communication without it and taking part in social situations would lack any kind of control as questioning is a very big part of our how we speak with people. Asking questions is a skills that is developed and has to be worked on as you really have to understand what is being said by the other person.
One of the themes highlighted in this chapter is the importance of asking questions:
“Asking questions is a fundamental part of communication, and as such will be an important factor in the work of many professionals.”
-(Mokros and Aakhus, 2002). As Waterman et al (2001:477)Questioning is a very interactive skill and encourages conversation by making it flow more easily. It also allows us to communicate and speak to others whilst having more knowledge and understanding with what they are talking about. We can also see questions used in the show business, for example, there are television programmes from which you can make a large sum of money by asking questions. It has been shown how much humans actually rely on being able to ask questions in their day-to-day life.
It is seen in children that questioning is a human instinct to help us gather information and be able to make sense of it. Children do this a lot as their brains are less developed and it can be harder for them to understand something simple that adults have no problem with. This chapter also explains how complex asking questions actually is; it is a skill we have to constantly develop and it shows a real understanding of what the person is actually talking about as we have to form a question in our head based on what was said:
‘While at a surface level questioning seems to be a straightforward feature of communication, deeper analysis, functional, structural and textual levels reveals questioning to be a complex and multifaceted phenomenon’
– Hargie (2006:121)
There is a claim made by a US study that says pupils in high school (between the ages of 13-16) struggle more with asking questions compared to the younger children in primary school as they feared what kind of reaction their classmates would have and it could give them a negative correlation as being stupid. Those that were comfortable tend to be; white, male, higher-income, those with higher self-esteem, those who felt accepted by the teacher. I don’t necessarily agree with this as from my experience I don’t fit into many of these categories yet I did feel comfortable asking questions in front of the class.
Chapter five, ‘Finding out about others: the skill of questioning’, in Hargie, O. (2011) Skilled Interpersonal Communication: Research, Theory and Practice. 5th ed. London: Routledge.