Beaker or Dr. Bunsen Honeydew?!
Curiosity killed the cat. Sometimes it does and – sometimes it does not.
Asking questions is normally safe if you are a child, a student, or a detective. This is easily explained: Children need to ask questions to get to know more about the world. Students intend to pass their exams as good as possible. Detectives need to find the facts about the crimes they investigate.
Asking questions with an air of self-confidence does not harm you at all.
Asking questions might be harmful if the asker seems insecure. As it is a jungle out there (sharks, lions, rats, coons, dogs, etc. – all dressed in business suits), the asker should never seem insecure or feeble. Depending on who the asker is dealing with, he/she might be looked down upon, ridiculed, no longer taken seriously, pitied. And this is a real pity – and very unnecessary.
Losing your reputation due to a weak moment – no way.
If you really do not know something, really need the information as soon as possible – ‘assume’.
Example: Someone filled in a form – and you are not sure if the entry is correct, if the person who filled it in understood the meaning of the respective field correctly. Instead of asking (“Do you really…?”), formulate it like this: “As you filled in this value, we assume that…” This demonstrates competence. In addition, the person you addressed has to provide – an answer. The answers may vary: You are right, this is the actual value. / I apologize. I misunderstood the meaning of the field in question. / Thank you for your feedback. I should have provided the additional information below. / etc. On the condition that your assumption makes sense, the answer will normally be polite.
If you have been asking instead of assuming for quite a while it will not be easy. Changing habits is not a piece of cake, I know. 😉 Positive feedback strenghtens your self-confidence and positively influcences your reputation.
Don’t look back in anger. Look into the future with confidence! 🙂