Questions are an essential part of meetings. When questions are asked, there is interest; that’s a good thing. Questions can be a test not only for your knowledge of the content but your confidence in what you are representing.
The 3 techniques below will help you prepare for inevitable questions.
1) Restate– In restating the question you are NOT adding any new information or changing the meaning. This is really important. Changing the meaning does not always mean words, many times it’s done with tone and inflection. Also restating DOES NOT mean using the same words and ‘parroting’ the information. When this technique is done well the listener repeats the essence of the message with no judgment, emotion or opinion implied, in other words – a neutral tone. It’s much easier said than done. It can be most challenging in an emotionally loaded conversation which is also where it is the most powerful and effective. The main resistance people have to restating comes from the fear that they may be seen as agreeing when they do not. Do not let this stop you from using this effective technique, as it is even more powerful when you do not agree with the other person’s statement.
2) Disclaiming– Many times people are fearful to give an answer because they want to have the right answer. “I don’t know, but I will find out” won’t really get you very far in business communication especially when it’s used more than once. Learning how to frame your answer can help. There are phrases which act as a disclaimer so you can offer insight or at least the limited information you do have. (more…)