Working in a startup is a multi task job. Consequently, you need to be learning skills every day to do a great job. I’m sure that, at least for me and from my experience, the best way to learn and to find out more information is to ask questions. For many, asking questions might seem like a dumb thing, especially if you assume that everyone knows the answer except you. Also, some of you might feel that asking questions might mean bothering the person. I had this second feeling a lot.
I have to say that from my experience, people, including myself, love to answer questions. This allows us to share our knowledge and also help out others. Some might even like to use questions to guide people to their product/services. So, in other words, asking questions is indeed a good thing for who answers them too.
However, the key issue is how to ask the question. While there are many people that love to help, it needs to be something that they feel it’s worth helping. If you can't even ask the right question, you make it difficult for them to provide an answer, and you will not get many results from it.
Here is something you need to think about it. How are you asking the questions? Is it in a meeting? Is it through email? Are you using a chat? Or are you writing a message in a bottle? Either way, you need to make sure you do it right.
Regardless of the way, here are some suggestions of things that I have learned, and it's been quite helpful.
Make the questions short. Especially in an email, don't write an entire paragraph simply to ask one question. Just ask directly.
Separate the questions. Don't try to ask all the questions at once or in one whole paragraph. Even if they are related, try to separate them. In any email, if you list out the questions, even by numbers or bullets, the person can easily answer your questions directly one by one. If you send an email with a few questions that are put together and not separated into a list,
The person tends to take longer to answer because it’s harder for them to go through all the questions. It's annoying to have to find the questions all the time.
Also, many people might end up just answering the last question, as they might forget about the earlier ones. So, it’s better to list the questions.
Don't ask too many questions at the same time. People tend not to have much time these days, so consider this; If you want a quick response, ask only a few questions. It's better to keep the conversation going by asking gradually then trying to ask everything at once. I would recommend not going over five questions.
My intention here is to share few my experiences so you can use it to your advantage the key element that everyone should use, i.e., questions. In the Silicon Valley, people love to share their knowledge. You will be surprised with how much knowledge you can gain just by asking. Do not hesitate, just ask it nicely.