We’ve all heard that there are no dumb questions. That may or may not be true but there are certainly some questions that are much better than others.

Every once in a while I get the opportunity to talk on the phone or possibly even in person with someone I greatly admire. It’s often a pastor I look up to or a leader I want to learn from. When I get my window of time with them I want to make sure I take full advantage of it.

If you want to grow in knowledge, skills, and leadership you’ve got to learn to make the most of these incredible opportunities. Here’s a few guidelines I use.

1) Don’t ask them a question which can be answered on their website. For instance, if you get 30 minutes with a pastor you really admire don’t ask him how many campuses they have or where the campuses are located. All you have to do is go to their website for that. Your wasting their time.

2) Don’t spend the majority of your time telling them your story.   Spend 20% of your time asking questions and sharing and the other 80% of your time listening.

3) Don’t waste their time by asking questions someone else on their staff is better suited to answer.

4) Respect their time. Just because that leader agrees to take your phone call once doesn’t mean he or she can talk to you on a monthly basis. Be thankful for the time you got and don’t waste it by using it to try to get more time out of them in the future. If they have additional time to offer I promise you they’ll graciously offer it.

5) Don’t ask them questions about someone else. If you’re talking with Leader A don’t ask him questions about Leader B.  Ask him questions about their life, their leadership, and their influence.

If you want to be a good leader you’ve got to be a great learner. If you want to be a great learner you’ve got to be an exceptional listener.