Advertising
Advertising

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

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.

Advertising

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:

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

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.

More by this author

Tara Massan

Founder of Be Moved, Life Coach and Writer.

Why Singing In The Shower Can Boost Your Confidence And Health When You’re Made To Feel Unwanted, Leave And Never Turn Back 11 Hidden Signs You’re Highly Empathetic But You May Not Even Notice That What Happens When You Refuse To Be A Victim And Decide To Take Control Why People Who Have Much Younger Siblings Are Amazing Friends

Trending in Communication

1 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 2 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 3 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 4 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

Advertising

The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

Advertising

If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

Advertising

In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

Advertising

It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

More Articles About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next