Yesterday I met with the founder of Conjunct, an amazing nonprofit organization which brings pro-bono consulting to impact organizations in the South-East Asia region. While we chatted about the cultural differences between European, US-American and Singaporean students, he mentioned a technique he uses to get to the core of a question which piqued my interest.
Singaporean students often don’t ask questions — I experienced this in a talk I gave for a large group of students in Singapore, where it took us a good 15 minutes to get the crowd engaged in a Q&A session. Nobody dared to ask a question.
The reasons for this are manifold (and not what is overly relevant here). His way to combat this, is to go straight for the real question by making his opening statement:
“What is your second question?”
It’s a brilliant hack to cut to the chase — as often the real question is hidden behind a layer of social norms, fluff, insecurities and much more.
So… What is your second question?