Overcoming Fear of Asking Questions: Strategies and Tips

Have you ever felt like you were the only one who didn’t understand something in a conversation with your family members or peers? Maybe your lack of knowledge about a subject made you feel inferior or worried you looked stupid.

No worries! Everyone experiences these self-conscious moments in their life. Fear of asking questions is very common. However, it is more important to think about the answer to this question: how did you react in this situation?

The fear of the unknown can be paralyzing.

Did you find yourself too afraid to ask for clarification or to ask additional questions? This could mean that you suffer from a common phobia. This fear coexists with social anxiety, and this article will refer to this phobia as “question aversion.”

Most people will remain silent, paralyzing the fear of asking a potentially stupid question. This fear controls them when it comes to concepts they don’t understand, and they fear they won’t ask the right questions.

The truth is that those who are afraid to ask questions are missing out on a great opportunity to learn.

You may be wondering, “Okay, what does this have to do with investing?” The answer is: a lot.

How to Identify Your Social Anxiety as a New Real Estate Investor

When you’re new to the real estate world, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and plagued by insecurities. You may even struggle with (gasp!) scammer syndrome.

According to Psychology Today, imposter syndrome is defined as, “A psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their achievements.”

Your lack of knowledge about a concept may make you feel inferior in a group of investors and therefore socially anxious. By hiding your inferiority feelings, you can only ask simple questions or say nothing at all. However, if you don’t ask the complex or difficult questions, you’re actually hurting yourself.

Let’s discuss why asking questions is essential to your success.


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Why is it important to ask questions?

By asking tough questions, you can minimize your mistakes, save money (because you minimize your mistakes), and speed up your investment journey.

Here is a real estate example:

Talking to salespeople on the phone can make them confrontational (if you haven’t encountered this, you clearly aren’t speaking to enough salespeople). Because of this attitude, your instinct is to assume they don’t really want to sell. They must be tire kicks, you think, and you just want to end the conversation.

By your perception of the seller, you limit your conversation and you don’t ask difficult questions. Unfortunately, by not consistently asking the tough questions, you’re missing out on opportunities to find out the real reasons why such salespeople call.

Some salespeople may yell at you, but if they’re finally willing to engage you in civilized conversation, you can learn from them.

Challenge yourself by making a habit of asking difficult questions of the following team members:

  • contractors
  • agents
  • sellers
  • Buyers:
  • Estate agents
  • accountants
  • Escrow Officers

Try this and see what you learn. What is the worst case scenario? They act like a jerk? Then you have learned important information. Just like making an offer on a home, you’ll never know if you don’t ask.

Powerful realizations for the question-avoiding individual

When you become confident and have a positive self-awareness, opportunities and success await you in the professional arena. Once you have overcome your insecurities, you can focus on expanding your knowledge and succeeding in your professional career.

Here are several powerful realizations that will change your life if you stop listening to your fears.

Stupid questions don’t exist

Ignorance is not the same as stupidity. You may not know or understand a concept, which is why you need to ask questions. Asking doesn’t mean you’re stupid, just that you don’t know a certain situation.

There really is no such thing as a stupid question.

I’m sure others have the same question

You are probably not the only one with your question. Other investors, when they were new, struggled with the same question you want to ask. And maybe other newcomers feel scared and stuck in their silence too.

Take the initiative to ask your questions, because it will not only help you. You may also help others to gain insight.

Questions encourage productive discussion

It’s normal to be non-confrontational. Because of this, we often limit our ability to gain a better understanding of those with whom we do business.

Fear can keep you from a potentially life-changing prospect. By overcoming the fear of asking questions, you generate valuable discussions that benefit you and all your colleagues.

Asking questions can earn you respect

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, “We run this company on questions, not answers.”

Children, innovators, recruits, students, interviewing employers, and brilliant thinkers all learn by asking questions. The key to your success is to become a studious real estate student.

You earn the respect of your colleagues for taking the initiative and taking the time to ask questions. You do your due diligence and are a team player, which also benefits everyone.

You also earn the respect of your mentors by showing that what they have to say is important, and you try to learn more. You act out of curiosity and then listen to what they have to say.

How do you overcome a fear of asking questions?

Let’s discuss several ways to optimize your chances of learning at the level you are at now.

Start with smaller forums

It can be difficult to ask tough questions, including the fear of being judged and not wanting to feel vulnerable. Being a newbie and sitting in a room full of seasoned investors can leave you feeling intimidated. When you’re starting out, smaller forums can help you feel more comfortable asking questions.

A solid resource with an “Investing in Real Estate for Beginners Forum” can be found here on the Connected Investor website.

Ask questions for everyone’s sake

One of the hardest questions for me in the beginning was to ask a seller, “How much do you owe on your house?” At first it seemed intrusive. Who would tell someone they don’t know what they owe on their property? However, the majority of sellers don’t mind giving that information. It depends on how you phrase the question.

One approach is to ask, “Do you have any liens or mortgages on the property? If so, are you current with your mortgage?” Another approach is to ask, “If you don’t mind me asking, what do you owe to the property, because I know the value of property in that area fluctuates, and I want to make sure are that we have no problem giving the correct value or a fair offer.” Two different approaches, even if you get the same result.


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Accept invitations and roles that give you the opportunity to ask questions

I spoke to a new investor and he said he has nothing to offer the group. He didn’t want the other investors to feel like they were wasting their time with him.

In a situation like this, it’s important to ask as many questions as possible. Don’t let the fear of being judged limit your ability to learn from those who are willing to teach. You cannot learn if you are always teaching. You can’t learn if you don’t ask questions.

Don’t ask too many questions

It’s important to note that while asking questions is essential to your success, you don’t want to be guilty of creating question fatigue. The more you talk, the less you listen, which means you learn less.

While it’s important to ask questions, be careful not to ask too many questions or simply ask the same question again.

You cannot allow your learning to be controlled by your assumptions of what others think. Overcoming your fear of asking questions builds confidence and sets an example for your peers.

Think what would have happened if Albert Einstein, Plato, or Sir Isaac Newton had decided not to ask their questions.

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