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Answering the questions that everyone in the class is thinking about

No one wants to feel, or look, stupid. That's why people will rarely speak up in a class, and ask the all-important questions that everyone is thinking. As a teacher, and trainer, I was first surprised by this, then I figured out a way to encourage intelligent questions.

If you're a teacher, or trainer, and have heard something like *how come we gotta do this stuff?* then you have been asked an intelligent question. Really. Most of the time they are thrown out by people who seem intent on disrupting the class. Technically, this is a rhetorical question, that is, a question that really doesn't want an answer. It always takes the form of *of what possible use is...?*

If, as a teacher or trainer, you are unable to answer those questions, then you should find something else to do, refund the money to the college or the training company, and to the students. But if you can answer the basic questions, more will follow, and people will be encouraged to speak up.

Once I got in the habit of listening for these kinds of questions, they were everywhere. And even though I don't teach anymore, I still listen for them. It turns out that they make great springboards for blog posts. *Why do people use Internet Explorer?* *Why do people use Macs instead of PCs?* - that sort of thing.

When I started realizing that these types of questions could give me an insight into the most important questions that everyone had, I was delighted when I heard them. My answer would be, *I'm glad you asked that!* Of course, if the person were just trying to disrupt the class, they would groan, but I would immediately see most of the other class suddenly perk up with interest. Yeah, why? And the class would make a note of how I answered a question, which would encourage more.

When I was a kid, I asked a lot of *why* questions. The adults who didn't understand just thought that I was trying to be annoying. The ones that did understand, stopped what they were doing, and explained. I wanted to grow up to be that kind of person.