Discuss: Asking good questions

Lots of good ideas in here…

The “AWE” question

Notably, the article above doesn’t mention/suggest asking things like…

And what else?

(…that’s the A W E question in case you’ve not heard that acronym before.)

Tell me more.

(…and I’ll call this TMM)

GOOD. Because I want to push back—firmly—against anyone who ever uses those in a podcast.

There may be a place for those things. My therapist says those things at me regularly [I am not joking here], and even in such a “leave absolutely no fingerprints,” antiseptic, therapeutic setting they’re only borderline useful, and are always annoying.

Why should you never use them?

Because AWE and TMM are lazy.

You’re about to disagree, aren’t you?

Let me ask you this: Does it ever require you to do one iota of work, or to commit one iota of thought, before you fire back AWE or TMM? It does not, right? So choosing to use a no-work-required question? …that’s the definition of lazy.

“Don’t be lazy,” does not mean you have to choose the most difficult path. Just put that iota of work in, and then ask a question. If you’re about to say AWE/TMM, then clearly something in there makes you think there’s more. What are you thinking there’s more of? Great! Ask that question instead.



Ah, @craig, I beg to differ. I believe there’s a place for both types of questions, both the targeted and the wide-open (you’ll note I’m choosing not to call it ‘lazy.’)

There have been times guests said something that made me think there was more. I then asked a more targeted question that turned out to completely miss the mark and it turned into a speedbump in the conversation. So, now, I tend to go with TMM or SMAT (say more about that) because it lets the guest lead where they want to go.

Perhaps the nature of the questions also depends on the nature of the podcast. I’m not sure but I’m thinking about it. :thinking:


I love that you’ve fired the first shots in the good question conversation, @craig - lots of food for thought here. I found the article you attached to be terrific and filled with gems.

I’m with @JuleKucera here. I also believe there’s a real art to asking a targeted open ended question (such as this one in the article: Example 2: “You’re such an incredible artist, your use of colour is striking, yet still soothing. What inspired you to use this colour palette for this piece?”).

The answer to this question, for me as a coach, is yes. A resounding yes. I don’t ask either of these questions often (because I’m not interested in story as much as I am interested in what lies beneath the story). But when I do, it’s because I’m working very hard not to interject myself, my judgements, my advice, my opinion, into my client’s discovery. I am holding myself back and encouraging my client to spew everything out. To put down the backpack and take every single thing out of it so they can see what’s in there and decide which things are worth holding onto.

As an interviewer, however, I can see where this question can become troublesome. Where it can encourage a monologue or a canned response. But again, I agree with Jule’s point about letting the guest go where they want to go - and these questions can do just that. I wonder if it also depends on whether the podcast is interview or conversation, and how much the host is sharing the stage with the guest.

This is loads of fun to think about - and to try out in podcasting. Thanks Craig!


@anneroche great point! I’ve been listening to SmartLess (conversation) and they use a lot more targeted questions.

An interesting developement over in the LinkedIn thread