How to answer tough questions – 8 easy tips

1. If you know the answer, answer the question promptly. A direct and quick response rarely harms the cause.

2. Don’t waffle. Get to the point. No one has time today for a lengthy presentation of any kind.

3. It’s OK to say you don’t know the answer. But promise to get back with the answer – promptly. Deliver on that promise. Fast!

4. Don’t bombard the audience with too many verbal details. Bottom line the big picture. Then offer these details in writing. Don’t assume your audience processes your messages well verbally. Many still prefer to see key messages in writing.

5. If you’re analytically inclined, structure your response into three items. Then walk the audience through the items succinctly. Clearly enunciate each item, with a Number One, Number Two, Number Three, providing those audible signposts so your listener can follow you.

6. If you tend to talk fast, structure your ideas into three items – to slow you down and increase the chances of your message being retained. Don’t count on your listener absorbing every point first time.

7. Master the art of “bridging” from question to answer. Techniques include rephrasing the question to give yourself time to think, and well as to ensure you understand the question. You can also compliment the question and the questioner.

8. But don’t overdo the “Great-Question” response. (It’s the most common bridging tactic, and can get overused)

Techniques featured are from ‘Think on Your Feet’ – http://www.weareholst.com/think_on_your_feet.php