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Asking Questions & Developing Expertise


Asking Questions & Developing Expertise

1 February, 2024

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up with a dull pain in my toe. It escalated to (approximately) agony. I did what any man would do, I Googled. My biases allowed me to choose the most manly complaint – something to do with being an athlete – but the pain was still there the next day. So I succumbed; I called my GP.

After making a phone appointment and sending some photos, someone called me back and asked me lots of questions. In my head, I’d already told myself what the problem was, so why ask so many questions, I thought.

After a minute or two, the diagnosis came: Gout.

No, sorry, that can’t be; that’s some medieval disease for people with rotting feet, isn’t it? I’m not living in the court of Henry the Bloody Eighth, don’t you know.

After getting over my shock and being prescribed some drugs, I returned to Google (why break the habit?) to look up what Gout was.

Oh, yes. Um, that sounds spot on. And it’s not about rotting feet…interesting.

A week and some drugs later, I can once again walk straight. I have even mentioned it to a few people (men of a certain age), each of whom has given me their own advice – all conflicting, of course.

So why am I sharing this story about my feet? What’s it got to do with marketing and communications?

Perhaps the following questions will get you thinking:

  • How often do you assume knowledge of somewhat complex subjects based simply on a Google search or a quick YouTube video?
  • How often do you lead with the answer when you should lead with the problem?
  • How often do well-meaning people around you, with as much knowledge as you, give you advice? And how often do you follow it?

Whether you are the “Doctor” with a remedy to ‘sell’, or a patient with an issue that needs sorting, we should never forget route causes, the roles we play, and the journeys we must take to get the most effective results for a win-win.

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