Sunday, November 28, 2021

How to respond to a question?

I've been thinking a lot about communication (I know--fun, right?!) and especially about questions. This is because asking and responding to questions (not just answering them) is a large part of communication.

So, 9(+) ways to respond when asked a question:

  1. Ignore the question. (& the person asking?)
  2. Refuse to answer.
  3. Admit that you don't know.
  4. Admit that you can't answer. (yet?)
  5. Use the fact that the asker has now stopped talking and take the opportunity to talk about what you want to.
  6. Pick a word from the question and talk about that. (Because not properly listening, or as a way to avoid answering the question directly.)
  7. Talk about a topic related to the question. (Because that's what you want to talk about, or as a way of avoiding the actual question.) 
  8. Directly answer the question.
  9. Provide information/suggestions/ideas related to the question that will allow the asker to find (or decide) the answer themselves.
  10. Other?

I know the above is a generalization, and it won't apply to all questions but is a helpful summary of the options that are generally available.

 Not all are always possible, appropriate, or useful, but all are worth considering before asking (or even answering) a question.


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