How asking the right questions already can give the answer
I already wrote about how discussing is better than asking questions, because you get a long-term benefit instead of a short-term solution. Nevertheless, sometimes asking questions is the only thing to do and sometimes it is also the right thing to do. Not to get help by somebody else, but to help yourself! Thinking about questions can give you already the answer, without really asking someone in the end.
Let me explain
So some of you might know that I am and was for the longest time a freelancer. My company creates visualisations for scientific purposes and is specialised on virtual reconstructions of archaeological content. So you can imagine, that I have to communicate with clients a lot (although I am an archaeologist myself)! Reconstructing is a very difficult thing and there is a lot of discussion involved. Usually everything needs to be documented one way or the other, so instead of using the phone, I’ll write eMails. A lot of eMails.
If I encounter a problem within my project, I usually wait until the end of the day to write to my client in order to clarify everything that came up. It might be, that I am unsure with something or need a decision on a certain detail. So I write an eMail. Writing on the other hand is sometimes a bit difficult as you need to find exact words to really describe your problem. So I have to think a lot about how to phrase my questions right and provide sometimes even images that help explaining.
The magic happens
This is the key. By thinking about the problem and phrasing it in a way that my client understands what I am talking about, I force myself to think about that specific problem in a certain way. Writing everything down in a clear and understandable manner often gives me the answer already! 80% of the time I write an eMail for half an hour and delete it afterwards, because the problem has solved itself! No need to bother the client.
These days, I even started just writing the question down without the intention of mailing it to my client, because I already know, that it might solve my problem. If it doesn’t, I still make use of the phrasing and write the eMail anyway. This little trick is a neat productivity tip for everyone that needs problem-solving.