The Best Handful of Tips 16 – Answering Questions

The Best Handful of Tips 16 –
Answering Questions

How often have you been to a meeting where the chairperson asks “Are there any questions?” There is often a deathly silence.

Your question time is very important to find out what people in your audience really want to know about your topic. Take care you do not talk too long and use up your question time.

Next time you give a talk try some of these tips to draw out questions and to make the best use of your time to answer them.

The five best tips on ways to handle questions
1. Ask the chairperson to give the audience a question break

“For the next few minutes chat to the person sitting next to you. Are there any points you would like clarifying or expanding? What questions would you like to ask?”

When the meeting is called back to order, usually questions flow.

2. Filter questions through the chairperson

When questions come, before you attempt to answer them, ask the chairperson to repeat the question. This ensures that everyone in the audience has heard the question. It also gives you time to think about the answer.

3. Rephrase a question

Turn an obscure or pointless question into an intelligent one and one you can answer.

Restate or rephrase a question to clarify it. You can always say , “As I understand it, you are asking me if…..”

4. Answer questions briefly

Keep your comments short and to the point.

The chairperson should be impartial and take questions in order. If there is no chairperson restrict aggressive questioners by taking questions from others.

5. Don’t answer a question unless you know the answer

Don’t bluff an answer. If you don’t know, say so. Your audience will respect you more if you are honest with them. You can always offer to find the answer and let the person know later.

-Geoffrey Moss,

“What people want to know
is more important than what you want to tell them.”

Source: “Persuasive Ways. ‘Tricks of the trade’ to get your ideas across”. First published by Moss Associates Ltd., New Zealand and in Chinese by the Shanghai People’s Publishing House, the Singapore Institute of Management, Kogan Page Ltd, U.K and in Hungarian by Bagolyvar Konyvkiado. Also published as the “Secrets of Persuasion” by Cengage Learning Asia and as an e-book and sold by


Persuasive Ways CoverPersuasive Ways (China) CoverSecrets of Persuasion Cover


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