How to Quickly Respond to Difficult Questions

August 3, 2013

In the course of your career you may be called upon to make presentations to your colleagues. Presenting in front of your peers is a hard task in itself. And it becomes much more difficult when a question and answer period is required. Question and answer periods are a great way to clarify the message and reinforce key points, so it is important to remain composed and positive throughout the entire session. Here are some ideas that can help you prepare for your next meeting from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of the Northwest:

Show a genuine interest — When a person is asking a question, show interest and desire to understand the question by listening and asking for clarification. If a person has a question with a negative tone, showing interest can help diffuse the negativity.

Buy time — When answering a tough or complicated question most people can’t respond immediately. Buy time by repeating the question in your own words. You may also ask for clarification on the question. These techniques allow you to quickly organize your thoughts as well as confirm you will be correctly answering the question.

Disagree Agreeably — Acknowledge the other person’s point of view by rephrasing the question, and show respect by using a cushion to introduce the idea you think would be best. An example of a cushion is to reply, “I hear what you are saying” (pause), then say, “how about this angle…” Remember to show evidence to support your points.

Suggest a private meeting — A private meeting can be less tense than speaking in front of your peers. A one-on-one meeting also can be more effective because feedback is immediate and there is time to discuss ideas in a calmer setting.

For more information on being a better problem solver and communicator join us for an upcoming Dale Carnegie Course: Effective Communications & Human Relations/Skills For Success program!

This post is brought to you by Dale Carnegie Training of the Northwest, providers of professional development and management course. Please connect with us on Facebook!

Photo credit: Miles

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