No matter how far along you are in your career, knowing how to answer questions effectively is crucial—especially with a potential recession on the horizon.
Throughout the world of business, dialogue involving Q+A has replaced speeches and presentations as the format of choice for sharing ideas. Executives are frequently interviewed on stage, job candidates confront a battery of questions designed to trip them up, and most formal meetings involve back and forth discussion involving questions and answers.
So what’s one simple thing that you should stop doing immediately if you want to ace your next interview? Stop evaluating the question.
Even if you’re complimenting the person who is interviewing you. After all, how many times have you listened to a podcast or TV interview where the subject begins their response by saying “That’s a good question!”
This is often a stalling tactic—an effort to buy time while thinking. Occasionally, it might be a sincere response to an especially thoughtful question. The problem is that if you say, “That’s a good question,” you’re elevating yourself above the questioner. If you’re an executive in a meeting, you’ll sound condescending toward the employee who’s asked the question. If you’re a job seeker, you’ll sound arrogant (or, equally bad, fawning) in praising the hiring manager interviewing you.
Your job is to answer the question, not evaluate it. Instead of commenting on the quality of the question, pause. Don’t be afraid to take a moment to think in silence, and, when you’re ready, make sure you respond confidently.
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