How to Quickly Respond to Difficult Questions

February 9, 2012

In the course of you career, you’ll likely be called upon to make presentations to your colleagues. Presenting in front of your peers is a hard task in itself. And it can become much more difficult when a question and answer period is required. Questions and answers are a great way to clarify the message and reinforce key points. However, it can backfire if you fail to remain composed and positive throughout the entire session. Here are some ideas from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey that can help you prepare for your next meeting:

Show a genuine interest — When a person is asking a question, show a genuine 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, “Did you ever consider 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 attend our upcoming “High Impact Presentations” workshop on March 21 in Bordentown!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @CarnegieJersey.

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