Grade 8 Math Problem Solving Skill And Concept Based Questions 10 Techniques For Answering Questions Effectively

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10 Techniques For Answering Questions Effectively

A question is a statement that requests an answer or response. Every day you can ask questions they ask you. Some questions are open-ended requiring explanation, elaboration, etc., while other closed-ended questions require only a Yes or No. In some cases, others ask questions that don’t necessarily require an answer but just need someone to listen (rhetorical questions). Depending on the structure of the question, the answer that follows should address what the question seeks. Many people fail exams not because they are boring, but because they do not understand what is being asked of them. Failure to articulate the question correctly leads to an incorrect action or response. After a presentation, you should feel good if people ask you questions. It may be a sign that people were involved in the presentation and that the presentation generated interest in others. How you answer these questions will improve your audience’s view of you or increase their confidence in your product or service. As a professional you will need to master the art of asking relevant questions, but most importantly how to answer questions effectively.

1. Understand the question – Before diving into answering a question, make sure you are clear about what the question is about. There is no harm in seeking clarity about what is being asked. Politely ask “I’m sorry, I don’t seem to understand what you’re asking, would you mind rewording?” In this case, you will communicate better than simply speaking without clarity or understanding. Remember that the essence of answering questions is that you make a positive contribution to the person who is looking for an answer. Don’t waste your time. Seek understanding first.

2. Listen carefully to the whole question – One way to improve your effectiveness in answering a question in a relevant and objective manner is when you allow the person asking the question to finish. Some people take the time to specify exactly what they are looking for. Answering a question before it’s fully asked can come across as disrespectful. Don’t assume you know the direction the question is going, so you want to help the person get to the point. If you have time, let the person “wander” while you take note of the key points. It also gives you time to synthesize and think of the best answer to the question. The ability to listen gives you a high percentage of success in your answers to questions.

3. Stop and think carefully – You must determine whether you are qualified to answer the question or someone else is. Are you authorized to speak on this matter (reporters can hound you even though you don’t have to be a company spokesperson)? How deep should the answer be? Pauses and moments of silence show that you’re not just preparing whatever raw material you have in mind, but that a clearly thought-out response is coming. You can actually prepare the person waiting for a response by saying “Let me think…, Let me see…”. That way, the person doesn’t sit back and wait thinking you didn’t hear, you’re just being ignorant, etc. Reflecting also helps you make statements you won’t regret later. You can assess how best to respond wisely without leaving the person with scars or fresh wounds.

4. Answer the question and stop – Once you understand what the question means, your role is to answer to the best of your knowledge and stop. The tendency to volunteer unsolicited information does not add value to you. If anything you will be disempowered. I have encountered people who after asking a simple question like “Where are you going?” they’ll stop and think you have all day to hear the name dropping, long explanations that give all the background that leave you just saying “Oh really, aha, Oh, I see.” Get to the point and stop. When you’re always telling mouthfuls of information, lies are inevitable. You may start to confuse yourself or make contradictory statements without realizing it. I have seen people lose cases in court because they keep making statements that are then used against them at a later stage in the proceedings.

5. Relax and be confident – It is interesting to note that sometimes the same question can be difficult to answer depending on who and what setting the question is asked. If the person sitting next to you asks you on a bus; “Would you mind telling me about yourself” can be a much easier question to articulate than when you have a panel of four or five people in an interview room where you’re looking for a job. The same question can bring different answers. In the first setting you can relax and talk about social issues, while in the second setting you almost feel that every answer has to indicate how hardworking you are and all the positive things in life. The important key to flow of answers and effective answering of a question is to relax and be as natural as possible in your answer. You don’t want to sound like you have a rehearsed speech somewhere that you’re trying to remember. Relax and let your creativity flow. Breathe normally and stay calm.

6. Master the general nature of the questions – The most common questions center around What? (look for details), Where? (seeks to know the place or location or setting) Why? (seeks to understand the reasons behind) Who? (is to request the people involved) When? (find the date and time it happened) How? (desires to know the process or step-by-step breakdown of an event) From whom? (identifies the owner). Other questions are like statements that ask for details. They give you the indication in statements like illustrate, explain, clarify, affirm, describe, investigate, enumerate, etc. Watch out for these words to give an answer that is relevant to what is being sought.

7. You may not know the answers to all the questions – It is a noble thing to let some questions pass. You are not the encyclopedia of all the questions you encounter. Admitting you don’t know the answer is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign that you know each other and wouldn’t want to engage in a guessing game. I have a lot of respect for people who even in interviews will tell you “I haven’t come across this concept yet, but it sounds really exciting” than someone who freaks out about having to answer every question and still loses the next five minutes giving a lecture that is innocent of the truth. Sometimes, in a group setting, admitting you don’t know the answer to a question will give you so much wisdom that might be hidden in the person sitting next to you; the kind of wisdom you can’t even find in books.

8. Avoid always answering a question with a question – There are people who will never try to answer in any other way than asking a question. One case where this is acceptable is in a classroom setting where a student asks a question and the teacher has no idea what the answer is. He/she can creatively ask “Is there anyone who can help with the question?”. It does not immediately admit ignorance of the question, but gives the teacher time to synthesize the answer of the other participants. I’ve always been a victim of answering a direct question with a question. What gave birth to this topic is a question my wife asked me which was simply and to the point “Are you going to the office later today”. My immediate response was not about the office but “Why?”. My response would have been a “Yes, I’m going, do you need anything, do you want to come?” instead of a “why” before giving the answer. He immediately told me, “You’d better write an article about answering questions.

9. If you are the expert, show it – Sometimes people ask questions because they know you are in the best position to know the best solution. In cases where you know your stuff, provide the rich response required. Back up your answer with relevant examples, if necessary. Just avoid giving long explanations where a simple answer would have worked. In a Science class, if the students ask you to explain the process of photosynthesis; you are not going to answer this in one line, but bring your experience, go out and get different types of handouts to illustrate so students understand each other. Likewise, in a boardroom, if you’re the COO, it should show. You cannot make other people appear to be experts in your field when you are there. Be the authority in your field.

10. Avoid judging the person asking – It is easy to think that the person who asked a question does not have knowledge in a specific area. When you are quick to judge, you risk being embarrassed one day. Some people ask about the areas in which they have PhDs. They direct the debates in the direction of their areas of specialization. When a question is asked, avoid attacking the person for asking, but get to the point and answer what is being asked. Avoid these statements that sound critical. When signs of judgment appear in a discussion, it becomes a barrier to effective communication. No one will objectively listen to what you say. Say what you know and quote what you’ve heard others say.

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