Ever notice that there are certain classes/types of questions that inevitably emerge during every Q&A portion of a session you’ve ever been to (or, heck, just about any educational setting, for that matter)?
• know-it-all “questions”. Questions is in quotes because this really isn’t any sort of question at all being posed, so much as someone taking an opportunity to attempt to create the impression to everyone else in attendance that wow, this person sure is knowledgeable.. Often these soliloquies are posed in the form of a statement with perhaps a slight raising of pitch at the end of the sentence to suggest it’s a query, but let’s be blunt - they really don’t give a crap about any answer that’s given. Quite common to hear these either prefaced by a “isn’t it true that…..?” or appended with a “….,wouldn’t you agree?”
• ‘validation questions’. These are typically rather lengthy questions that are quite detailed and heavily laden with situational qualifiers that pretty much removes the utility of any response to a general audience, and are almost certainly applicable to a particular circumstance or decision that you can tell the questioner once faced personally. What this individual really wants to ask is did I do the right thing?
• The ‘clueless questions’. Let’s be clear, no one expects folks attending an educational session to have complete understanding of a topic. We ask questions so that we may clarify our individual understanding. In life, however, there are times we encounter folks whose questions belie such an utterly complete mis-apprehension of a subject, one finds themselves wondering ‘huh, what the f*** did s/he just ask? or ‘why is this person even in the room?’
• The ‘scrapper questions’. This individual is probably better informed on a topic than most, but when s/he (yeah, I threw in the obligatory s/he non-gender-specific indicator, but let’s be honest it’s almost always a guy) poses a question, it’s with an aim to ‘trap’ the instructor and engage them in a debate on a topic.
Any other patterns associated with questions or questioning that you’ve observed? Which type of question do you most despise, dread, or alternately, enjoy?