The One Question You Need to Stop Asking

Your boss walks over to your desk and asks you a question about the company’s sale projections for next month. Without missing a beat, you confidently answer her question with the exact information she needed. She is impressed and satisfied with your response. But, after you finish answering her question, you ask:

Does that make sense?

Because you inserted doubt into your otherwise confident response, she now questions your answer and whether you are giving her correct data.

Asking if you make sense is the fastest way to strip away your confidence and expose your self-doubt. When you ask someone if you make sense, you are assuming that you do not make sense and that people have a hard time understanding you. And, further, you are giving the listener a chance to confirm the same.

In some situations, you may also be implying that the person you are speaking to is not smart enough to comprehend what you are saying—which can be condescending. Now, if you’re a teacher or counseling someone with less experience than you, asking this question may be ok. But if you are talking to your peer or your boss, stop asking her if she can make sense of what you are saying. If people are having trouble understanding you, they can ask you for clarification.

So, stop asking if you make sense.

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