If you’re learning the ropes in a new job, feeling confident enough to ask questions will help you grow. Answering questions calmly is important too – especially if you’re helping with customer enquiries. Play the ‘why’ game with a friend and see how far you get…
Communication is a Young Professional skill that’s a powerful mix of how you present yourself, how you influence other people, and how you share information and ideas with them. It will get you far in life… but it’s like a muscle you have to train.
The playground ‘why’ game can help you build your customer service skills and build confidence in communicating with your boss and team mates in a new job! Read on about the importance of asking questions, then take the ‘why’ game challenge.
Why is it so important to ask questions?
When we were little, we asked questions all the time. It’s how we found out about the world around us. Asking questions is good.
As we get older, we stop asking so many questions. This can be a real problem when we’ve just started a new job and there’s so much we need to know.
Why do we sometimes hold back from asking questions in a new job?
- We’re scared of looking like we need help
- We don’t want to take up someone else’s time
- We think we should already know the answer, even if we don’t
- We’re still feeling shy because we’re finding our feet in a new work environment
These are natural fears to have, but they hold us back from being our best self in a new job.
Why is it important to ask questions in a new job?
When we ask questions in our new job:
- We get the information we need to feel more secure and confident about doing our tasks well
- We show we are willing to learn and take direction from those in the know
- We show we are open to communication, which is good for team spirit and building bonds in the workplace
- We are helping our manager train us up more quickly. They’re not mind-readers. They won’t always know what we need if we don’t ask.
Communication skills challenge: Play the ‘why’ game with a friend
This game can be played with two people. You can even play this game with yourself if you can’t grab a friend to help you. But if you play on your own, you have to question and answer yourself out loud.
- The first player makes a statement. It could be anything, like “my room is messy” or “the shopping centre is busy on Saturdays.”
- The second person asks “why?”
- The first person has to answer. They must be honest and calm with their answer. If they don’t know, they have to find out the answer then tell the questioner. Once they have supplied an answer…
- The second person asks “why?” again. And keep going!
- See how many times the player can ask “why?” before the question becomes impossible for player one to answer.
- Swap roles. This time, the other player gets to ask the questions.
How does this challenge help you in life and work?
Asking ‘why’ can help you find out more about people and how they tick. You can even ask it of yourself. It can help you make positive changes to your routine or negative habits if you are stuck in a rut.
Asking ‘why’ can gain you deeper levels of information about a task, a project or a system for doing things
At work, other questions are often more useful (like ‘how’ or ‘when’ or ‘what’ or ‘who’). However, asking ‘why’ can help you understand if there are ways to improve a system (e.g. “why is it always the same person who makes all the coffee for the team?”). It can also help you solve problems (e.g. “why is the paper jammed in the photocopier?”).
Most importantly, this quick and easy playground game can remind you there’s no such thing as a silly question when it comes to work. After all:
- Yes, it is always okay to ask your manager and your team mates questions in a new job if knowing the answer will help you settle in and learn your way round.
- If you have a job that involves helping with customer enquiries, this game will help you be flexible and ready for anything. It will help you build up great customer service skills, too. After all, you are always there to stay calm and help the customer, no matter how difficult their questions may be!
See more on Youth Employment UK about clever questions.