Wise People Ask Questions and Then Listen


You can learn from anyone, but you’ve got to be willing to ask questions and then listen. This is the mark of a wise man or woman.

“People’s thoughts can be like a deep well, but someone with understanding can find the wisdom there” (Proverbs 20:5 NCV).

If you want to be wise, you’re going to have to learn how to ask wise questions.

Proverbs 20:5 says, “People’s thoughts can be like a deep well, but someone with understanding can find the wisdom there” (NCV). In other words, everybody’s got something to teach you. It’s like deep water in a well, and you’ve got to draw it out of them.

How do you draw the wisdom out of every person? By learning to ask smart questions. 

As I’ve traveled around the world, I’ve asked questions of taxi cab drivers and prime ministers, and they’ve both taught me. You can learn from anybody if you know the right questions to ask!

One of the things I’ve learned is that I have never learned anything while I’m talking. If my mouth is moving, I’m not learning. You don’t learn when you’re talking. You learn when you’re listening. So you’ve got to learn to listen. 

I’ve done an awful lot of interviews over the years, and I’ve noticed that the interview shows have changed. They’re no longer about the guest. They’re about the interviewer. The whole goal of the interviewer is to draw attention to himself. 

I long for the old Larry King days. I didn’t always agree with Larry King, but I liked that he would ask a question and then let you talk. He realized that people weren’t going to listen to Larry King. They tuned in to listen to all the fascinating guests that he had and learn from them.

Larry King once said that in an interview show, if the host is talking 50 percent of the time, something is terribly wrong. The host should listen the most and talk the least. A good TV host sets up the question and then just listens. 

You can learn from anybody, but you’ve got to be willing to ask questions and then listen. That’s the mark of a wise man or woman. 

Talk It Over

  • Try to spend a whole day focusing on listening rather than talking. What difference does it make?
  • What do you communicate to someone when you ask him or her a question and then listen to the answer with focus and interest?
  • What would be an example of wise question?

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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