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Answering Questions Quickly Doesn’t Mean You’re Smarter, Here’s Why

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Answering Questions Quickly Doesn’t Mean You’re Smarter, Here’s Why

Do you have a friend that is quick to answer any question fired their way? Sometimes we associate those who answer questions more quickly as being witty and smarter. We may even believe that if we answer questions at a quicker rate we will be perceived as being more intelligent. But often those who answer questions quickly provide inadequate answers and stammer over their responses. Answering questions quickly doesn’t mean you’re smarter, here’s why:

We live in a fast paced society which at times, requires quick-wits and the ability to think fast. We deem those who answer questions in a rapid-fire pace as being smarter and better able to digest new material. However, in a study completed at New York University, a group of psychologists asked volunteers to answer a set of question typed in either an easy to read font or a blurry font. The results concluded the people who had to work harder to read the question answered the question more accurately than those who had an easy to read font.

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What To Do When You’re Asked A Difficult Question:

We may not think of improvisation immediately when it comes to answering questions quickly, but it is a vital skill. Knowing how to improvise is being able to think on your feet.  It provides us with the ability to answer difficult questions fired our way. When a question is fired our way, we naturally tend to pounce and deliver an answer immediately. In our fast past society, a delayed response may not get us a job during an interview, or seal the deal in a business meeting and so on. But improvisation allows us the ability to buy more time when a difficult question is fired our way.

Effective Ways to Answer Vague or Complex Questions:

When questions are directed at us, they may not always be the clearest. The question itself may be vague or overly complex, leaving you wondering how to answer the question. You can effectively answer vague or overly complex question in the following ways:

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Repetition of Question.

Simply ask them to repeat the question. It can sound like this: I want to make sure I’m understanding you correctly, would you mind repeating the question? When you make this request it shows that you are interested in the question and that you would like to provide the best answer possible.

Request Clarification.

This works best with vague and overly complex questions. If the question isn’t clear, it is best to respond to the question with another question that prompts the person to clarify query.

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Be Clear in the Definition.

Specific words can mean several different things to different people. To avoid talking in circles ask the questioner to define specific terms in their inquiry.  For example, if someone asks you:  Why do you thinking shopping is feminine? You can respond by asking them: How do you define feminine? By asking for clear definitions of specific terms in the query you begin to expand upon the real root of the question being fired your way.

Effective Ways to Answer Inappropriate or Provocative Questions:

Unfortunately, we may face questions asked of us that are entirely inappropriate and provocative. The solution is to hedge your response.  Meaning, there are situations where the answer we may provide may not be the answer the questioner seeks.

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Respond to One Point of the Question.

There may be aspects of the question you do not wish to answer, and that’s more than okay. Focus your response on the aspect that you feel most confident in responding to.

Discuss the Question by Asking a Question.

More than we realize, when someone poses an inappropriate or provocative question, it really isn’t a question at all. Instead, they may seek a discussion about the question itself. You could ask the questioner why they seek the answers to their question or what motivates their interest in the specific subject.

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Narrow Down the Question.

Questions that are overly complex can be answered with a response by narrowing down the question by using specific words to direct the questioner’s attention. By narrowing down the question you effectively acknowledge the complex question, but make a verbal acknowledgement of answering only a specific and narrow aspect to the question.

Conclusion:

Although being quick-witted is often desired, it may not lead to the best way to answer a question fired your way. It’s more than okay to not know the answer off the top of your head.  If anything, by using the techniques above, it will allow for you to provide a clear and concise answer rather than blurting out an incomplete answer that lacks thoughtfulness.

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Tara Massan

Founder of Be Moved, Life Coach and Writer.

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