NO DUMB QUESTIONS PLEASE
From time to time I am asked to present at one doctors’ meeting or another on topics related to cosmetic medicine, and, in these, I always warn the audience that I want no dumb questions.
Looks of horror. How rude of me, some think.
I wait, then I add:
“Before you look at me with horror, and think me rude, may we take a moment to recall the medical definition of ‘dumb’?”
1dumb adjective \ˈdəm\
Definition of DUMB
a : lacking the human power of speech <dumb animals>
b of a person often offensive : lacking the ability to speak
: temporarily unable to speak (as from shock or astonishment) <struck dumb with fear>
: not expressed in uttered words <dumb grief>
: silent; also : taciturn
So, in this context, a “dumb” question is an UNSPOKEN question.
The question you have in your mind, that you *fail to ask*.
So, when I say I want “no dumb questions” that means that I want every question verbalised, not held dumb.
Next time you have to give a presentation, borrow this idea, and demand there be no ‘dumb’ questions. Demand that every question that occurs to every listener is *actually asked*.
Your audience will smile and appreciate it.