Whether it's user research, nailing down business requirements, or just figuring out where the team wants to go for lunch, directly asking for the answer you need rarely gets you an answer. Brains aren't computers. They don't run Google searches.
- "Where do you want to eat for lunch today?" vs. "Does Chinese sound good?"
- "How urgent is this assigment?" vs. "Is anyone going to die or get fired if this isn't done by the end of the week?"
- "What would get you to upgrade to the latest version?" vs. "What's the one thing you wish this product could do?"
Asking good questions is a skill I would attribute to many of the sharpest and most composed people I know. It's valuable in business and social situations alike. I'm not great at it yet, but I'm definitely working on it.