Yesterday, I texted a particular NUS professor seeking an introduction to a specific angel investor. That turned out to be a dud as the professor was not acquainted. And I followed up by asking:

do you know of anyone with deep pockets who like engineers, whom I should meet?

It was only after I pressed Enter, I realized how lazy that question was. Of course, I did not get a positive reply. Why should the onus of thought be on the professor? I should have done my research and asked another specific question.

Examples of poor questions are:

"Is this OK?"

What is "this"? And what is "OK"? Instead, explicitly spell out the context, and ask for a specific qualification. A better question would be: "Does my dress sense today meet the company's attire guidelines?"

"This is not working, what is wrong?"

Programmers love this asking such general questions, and our CTO hates it.

  • What is not working?
  • What have you done?
  • What are you trying to achieve?

"Do you know anyone who might be interested in meeting me?"

My lazy question. Don't. Just ask for an introduction to a specific person.

Ask clear and explicit questions

Open-ended questions belong to a date night when you want your date to do the thinking and share more about himself or herself. In most other setting, particularly formal settings, one should only ask explicit questions.