Everyone, at one time or another, finds themselves in situations where they have to handle tough questioning. Are you a waffler or someone who freezes when this happens? Is your coping strategy one of telling the questioner everything you possibly know about the subject or do you actively slow things down to give yourself time to think and calmly answer the question with something featured on our picture this week?
“How do you handle tough questions?”
There are real strategies available to you if you find yourself going scarlet and freezing. Some successful ones I’ve used in the past include:
- ask for clarification if the question is unclear to you (“is your main concern about …?”
- share and stop – state your message and supporting points, check whether the questioner is satisfied, then stop as decisively as you started (don’t just tail off!)
- focus on what you know and what you believe is relevant, then ask for clarification
- hypothesise (“I haven’t looked at that yet, but my hypothesis would be …”)
- Tell the truth! “I’m sorry, I haven’t looked into that yet. Does anyone else have ideas? If not I’ll look into it”
- Boomerang! Redirect the question back to the person who asked it or to a group (“interesting point – what are other people’s views?”)
- Problem solve – think aloud – involve others if possible (“Suppose we tried x – could that work?”)
I’m sure there are plenty of others too. What are yours? I’d love to hear about what worked well for you in these situations. Please share!