Except if you’re watching a movie with me – yes, you know who you are! OK, so there are stupid questions and that’s okay.

What’s not okay is the fear of asking questions you are afraid will make you look bad.

Sure, everyone wants to put their best foot forward. We all love to make a good impression. But you’re doing a lot of harm to yourself by trying to ask what you think are ‘the right’ questions.

So often, people don’t ask the questions they most need the answers to because of ego. No one wants to look like they don’t know what they’re doing. Your pride gets in the way of getting the help you need.

Even if you have a coach or mentor (and you should) you may not be getting the most out of them. You’re allowing your ego to keep you from being vulnerable.

Being vulnerable on purpose is a very valuable skill. You learn how not to let your ego get in the way of getting the answers you needs to move forward. That’s impressive.

Certain questions will only get you so far. When you see someone achieving what you’d like to achieve, you ask questions about the actions they’ve taken to get there. That’s important, but not nearly as important as the thoughts behind those actions.

And there lies the key to you reaching your goals.

Copying actions does not guarantee the same results. You must know the thoughts and habits behind those actions. That’s the kind of questions to ask. Don’t model someone’s product or service, model their behavior.

And here’s how we connect the type of questions to marketing.  Of course you can take the literal advice above and apply it to marketing and PR – no problem there. But there is a further, deeper level, to consider.  This applies to the messaging that you use in your marketing.

Messaging is a vital component to all campaigns.  Some people get it, but a lot just don’t.  Steve Jobs got it very early on (great, classic Steve video from circa 1984 here). And if you watched that video, think for a minute on how Apple communicates today, some 20 years later on, compared to its competition.

So, next time you have a chance to speak with someone who is where you want to be, ask them questions about their habits, thoughts, and behaviors. Don’t be afraid to be honest and upfront about where you are currently.

And next time you really want to connect potential customers with your marketing message, make sure you connect at the right level – the thoughts, behaviors and values.

What are your values?