Let's be clear on one thing - there are no "standard" good questions. Asking good questions is an art. Good questions will make your interviewer or prospect immediately realize that you have something to offer. Well thought-out questions communicate respect for the person you are speaking with and they will also help you discover the information that is most important to you and your objectives.
Do your homework - don't just scan. Something I've noticed that happens more often than not, is the lack of research that a candidate or presenter does prior to an interview or meeting. The only way you can generate strong, quality questions is if you do in-depth research on the company you will be interviewing for or pitching to.
"Knowledge is having the right answer. Intelligence is asking the right question. "
Demonstrate that you're intelligent and ask productive questions that generate valuable conversation. Here is a quick look at how to generate good questions for an interview or sales meeting.
1) Make a list of any questions you would like to ask. Don't worry about the quality at this point - just make a list.
2) Get online and try and answer every one of the questions on your own. You'll discover two things. One, you will probably answer all them pretty easily. Two, you will develop more questions. The new questions you develop are always better questions than the ones you started out with.
3) Try and answer all of your new questions with your own research. The questions you really have trouble answering are the ones you will want to consider as good questions. Think about what you stand to gain by asking these questions. Develop different ways to ask the same question to get a better response.
4) Pick five of your best questions and either write them down or remember them for you interview or meeting. At this point, your questions will show that you have done your homework (impressive) so you should also make sure to get the answers to things that matter to you. Think about your goals of the meeting and what you want to gain. You have the opportunity to ask whatever you like, so remember to take advantage of that.
If you complete these four steps before an interview or meeting, you will ask much better questions. Out of respect for yourself and the other person, don't just ask standard questions with obvious answers. Do your research, think about your goals and ask questions that generate valuable conversation for you and the interviewer.
This article was written by Quintin Ford, a recruitment entrepreneur located in Playa Vista, CA. Quintin is the Founder of OCEAN | STREET and avid blogger and social media guru. Learn more about Quintin on LinkedIn.