Whether it’s an interview or just a conversation with a friend, people sometimes ask really odd, difficult questions. It’s easy to blurt out something you later regret. Instead, learn to embrace silence before giving your answer.
Silence doesn’t have to be awkward. We’ve talked about how allowing a lull in the conversation gives someone else a chance to take the lead and get to know you.
Another instance in which it’s OK to embrace silence? When someone catches you off guard with a question. The Art of Manliness explains:
The answer you blurt out on impulse is unlikely to be the best response, and you’ll kick yourself later while mulling over the things you wished you had said. So the biggest thing you can do to improve your responses to difficult questions is to buy yourself more time to come up with answers. Even a few extra nanoseconds gives your brain a chance to do a little more processing and pull out the pertinent information and needed words…
They also suggest repeating the question before you give an answer. Yes, both of these methods show that you’re really thinking about the question and scouring your brain to come up with an answer. But if it’s a tough question, the other person should understand.
For more tips, check out the full post over at the Art of Manliness.
Thinking on Your Feet: How to Answer Difficult Questions [The Art of Manliness]