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Smart People Don’t Answer Questions At Once, They Follow These Steps First

Smart People Don’t Answer Questions At Once, They Follow These Steps First

Many of us think that the faster we respond, the smarter we sound.

But have you regretted saying the wrong things and you wish you didn’t say it so quickly? Remember how you often realize you should say this instead of that before you go to bed?

The best response usually don’t come instantly, and smart people know this very well. Before they answer a question, they go through some steps first.

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    The flow is, pause before everything else. Then, divert the question if you don’t want to answer it actually. But if you want to answer and can do it at once, hold yourself before the editing process.

    Pause and allow yourself to think

    When you can’t think of an answer immediately, and people are waiting for you, don’t let the pressure to respond quickly stop you from saying “let me think” or “I need some time to think about it”. It’s better to wait for a while for a great answer than replying at once with nonsense. People won’t remember how long you take to process the answer after they get wowed and impressed by your amazing and logical thoughts.

    Dodge the question with skill

    We all have that moment when someone asked an inappropriate question. Sometimes, you are not required to answer every question thrown at you. While you think and pause, you can divert the question if you don’t feel like answering that question or you just don’t know the answer. Robert MacNamara epitomized this when he said,

    Never answer the question that is asked of you. Answer the question that you wish had been asked.

    It goes for any tricky situation, like a job interview.

    Imagine the interviewer asks you on the reason of quitting your previous job, you don’t have to explain yourself. You could simply say, “Talking about my previous job, I did this and that. I learned and developed different skills like managerial skills, communication skills, etc. And I wish to challenge myself more.

    While you are not completely responding what the other person is asking, you are giving them a rational answer, and selling yourself at the same time. This is the magical power of language.

    Of course, there are more methods to diverting a question, like turning the tables or using transition devices to move to the next question, here is more.

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    Edit your words before you say them aloud

    Smart people don’t stutter. While they pause before answering, they think about few things:

    • How can I present my ideas in a way people can understand at once?
    • How can I impress them with my answer?
    • Would my answer be inappropriate or offensive?

    Take the flow, the content, and the length of your response all into deep consideration, and you could definitely stun your listeners with your answer.

    If possible, visualize a mind map in your head and quickly go through the points you want to hit, and elaborate on your points as you are answering the question.

    That’s hard, I am bad at putting my thoughts together.

    You don’t have to overshare when you are giving an answer. Sometimes less is more. Don’t give yourself too much pressure and to give the “perfect” response. In most situations, there is not an absolute answer. There is also not a rubric grading how all-arounded or politically correct your answer is.

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    To sound smart, you simply pause and think of what you want to say, take a deep breath and answer with confidence. The more you practice this pause-then-answer method, I’m sure you will sharpen your skill and perfect the art of answering questions in no time.

    Featured photo credit: Kazuhiro Shiozawa via flickr.com

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    Frank Yung

    Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

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    Last Updated on December 3, 2019

    10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

    10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

    There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

    Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

    1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

    Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

    There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

    Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

    2. Pace Yourself

    Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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    Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

    Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

    3. You Can’t Please Everyone

    “I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

    You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

    Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

    4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

    Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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    We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

    Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

    5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

    “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

    No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

    We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

    6. It’s Not All About You

    You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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    It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

    7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

    No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

    We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

    Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

    8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

    That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

    Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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    Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

    9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

    Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

    The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

    10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

    We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

    When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

    Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

    This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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    Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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