Answering Questions

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Communication skills part 08: The craft of answering questions

Top Tips

1) Listen
It is important to listen to all parts of a question before answering. This way you can prepare the best response.

2) Understand
If you are worried that you haven't understood a question, clarify before responding. Repeat the question back to confirm you have heard what has been asked of you. 

3) Communicate and Involve
Be sure the whole audience has heard the question and understood what was asked. You can do so by outlining what you have been asked prior to giving your answer.

4) Respond
When answering your question be sure to direct the answer to the questioner and the rest of the audience. Keep your answer short and to the point.

5) Bridge to the Next Question
Ask “Does that answer your question?” Once the question asker responds “Yes,” you have your permission to move on to the next person or question.

Top Tips Handout

Enhance your Wellness

It’s common to feel nervous and anxious when you’re put on the spot. Practice these tips to help yourself stay grounded and present:

  • Feel your feet on the floor. Imagine growing roots like a tree.
  • Intentionally slow down your breathing.
  • Touch a table or chair nearby and notice how solid it is.
  • Say kind and simple words to yourself like “Relax” and “I’m doing just fine”.

Short mindfulness experiences before a stressful situation can help you become present and reduce anxiety: http://marc.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=22.

For more wellness resources, see https://services.viu.ca/counselling/health-wellness-resources.

Student Support Areas

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Answering Questions Concept Map

Value for Me?

The aim of this guide is to give you some practical strategies for handling and responding to questions during or at the end of an oral presentation.

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Types of Questions

Technology Integration

Use this mind mapping software to create possible questions

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