Strategies for Success

Ask Rather Than Assume

Side view of a white woman in a plaid top speaking.

We all know what happens when we make assumptions. The only way to avoid that inevitable outcome is to ask questions. In some cases, you may risk someone thinking you should already know the answer; and maybe you do.

However, it is always better to get a confirmation or further clarification than to charge forward and realize, later, that you should have asked.

Here are a few tips for asking questions:

Think Like the Receiver

The nonprofit world, like any sector, has its own lingo. However, not everyone you encounter will be “in the know.” Look at what you are doing through the lens of the reader or recipient. Will they understand, or will they have questions? If there is any room for interpretation, clarify before proceeding.

Be Confident

You may lack confidence that you are asking the right questions. In fact, you may doubt yourself. But proceed boldly. There is no harm in asking. Shake off any less-than-helpful responses. You can never know if your question is going to be superfluous or a game-changer. No one can know, until you ask.

Get It in Writing

When possible, put your questions in writing. This is beneficial for a couple of reasons: 1) If the question arises again, you can look back, find the answer and save everyone some time; and 2) If someone questions why a situation was handled a certain way, the documentation supports your reasoning.

There may only be one or two questions out of ten that really make a difference, but there is no way to know which are the “right” two questions, so ask away!

Ashle-Burnett-web-7 1
Ashle Burnett

Business Development and Support Services Associate

Wichita, Kansas

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