Thinking on your feet

Be Ready for a challenge

Photo by Wonderland on Unsplash

In a meeting or a one to one discussion someone asks you a very difficult question. They may want to have an answer to a controversial matter or they may want to embarrass you. At any rate, don’t panic. Think through your answer carefully. Here is some additional help.

PREPARE YOURSELF

Anticipate questions or issues that will be raised. Be ready with some specific answers.

RELAX

If you are surprised by a question which may touch on a bad result or a controversial decision you were involved in, take a moment to center yourself.

ASK FOR THE QUESTION AGAIN

You want to make sure that you heard the question or statement correctly. So ask the person to repeat it. This also gives you time to think. This time, also, listen very carefully.

PAUSE

If you need more time, it is OK to wait silently while you are thinking. In your hurry to answer, you may make the situation worse.

ASK FOR CLARIFICATION

It may be that the question is very broad. It is a good idea to find out exactly what the person is looking for. You have to be careful. If you don’t understand a particular technical term, ask for clarification.

NARROW YOUR ANSWER

Try to have an answer that focuses on one issue and perhaps give one example. A wide ranging rambling answer that is too general will not be satisfactory.

CONSIDER THE SOURCE OF THE QUESTION

The purpose of the question may be to embarrass you or has some other hostile intent. If this is the case, stay calm. Answer the question carefully. Resume the presentation or continue with the meeting. Do not be drawn into a heated exchange.

IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER. SAY SO.

It is much better to say you don’t know than to pretend that you do. You can say that you will get back to the person with the answer.

KEY POINTS:

1.STAY COOL

2. VERIFY THE QUESTION

3. GIVE A BRIEF ANSWER

Published by pitman

I am a Business English Coach who works with managers and other professionals helping them to perform at their best when it is most important: such as a presentation, meeting with an important client, or a job interview. I am also a resource person for teachers of Business English.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: