Soup Questions

I always thought it was strange when people commented me on my question asking ability. I would usually kindly thank them & move the conversation on. But, lately, I’ve been reminded of the value of asking good questions…the right questions.

My favorite line from “Finding Forrester”, one of my favorite movies, comes after a dialogue between William (mentor) & Jamal (mentee) about the purpose of questions. William’s response to a question Jamal asks is simply “Not exactly a soup question, is it?”

See, William believed that good questions are those meant to obtain information that matters to us. We all want the answers, the information. And most of the time we want the “right” answers & we want them now. But, too often we don’t want to take the time to ask the questions necessary to get the answers we’re looking for…or need.

Asking good questions is hard work because we can’t ask just any questions, we have to ask the right questions, ones that will help us obtain the information we want. And those questions often take time. Asking those questions is often messy. But I think it’s worth it.

Are you asking the right questions?

With courage, Katie


  1. Great post, Katie. I love Finding Forrester!

    I face this issue in my day job in marketing all the time. When I'm doing new product development, I find that customers often answer questions based on a bunch of assumptions that are sometimes unclear even to them.

    I have found that the most powerful question is not "what do you want", but "what do you do". The same is true for just about everything in life. I may say I want to write the next great american novel, but if I'm not getting up at 5am and writing every day, it's never going to happen.

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