We’ve all been in that position at work where we’re suddenly put on the spot and asked to come up with a brilliant off-the-cuff solution to a problem. That’s a horrible spot to be in, because if you don’t have a quick reply, you look like a fool. To buy yourself a little more time, Forbes recommends repeating the question.
Picture: Voka Kamer van Koophandel Limburg/Flickr
Repeating the question and asking for clarification is an old trick many of us used in grade school to buy ourselves a little more time while we fished through our brains for the answer. It’s just as applicable in your adult life as it was back then. Forbes explains:
If you’re in a meeting room with eight or more people, it’s a good idea to repeat the question, [author Darlene] Price says. Even if you heard it clearly, others in the room may have missed it. “This practice gives the questioner the opportunity to clarify his or her question and verifies that you’ve received their intended meaning. In the event the question has a negative tone, you can re-phrase or neutralize it if needed.” Also, by taking the time to restate, you give yourself a few more critical seconds to think and formulate your answer.
It’s one of those simple little tricks that you might already do, but if you don’t, repeating the question is an excellent way to delay your response a little while you come up with that brilliant reply that’s sure to impress your boss. Head over to Forbes for a few more ways to improve the quality of your off-the-cuff replies at work.