LESSON 7: Learn how to answer a question and how to refuse to answer a question in a polite way

Download LESSON 6 as a PDF file.

WARM UP. THINK:

 

Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies. 
William Arthur Ward 

 

olivier_goldsmith 

 

 

 

Expand your vocabulary!
Learn the collocations with ?question?.

 

With an adjective:

  • an awkward, tricky, rhetorical, burning, probing question

With  a verb:

  • to address, to put, to bombard somebody with, to respond to, to parry a question
  • to bring up, pose, raise a question

With a preposition:

  • to question about something, to question as to, a question concerning, regarding, relating to

 

Exercise:
Complete the sentences with collocation from the previous exercise. Remember to use them in a proper grammar form.

  1. He skillfully all the interviewer’s most questions.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions why things are done in the way they are.
  3. The new play some questions.
  4. This could be a very question.

 

Click here, to see the key!

  1. He skillfully parried all the interviewer’s most probing questions.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as to why things are done in the way they are.
  3. The new play poses some challenging questions.
  4. This could be a very tricky question.

SPEAKING
  • Answer the questions below.
  • Inform the person that you are answering to, what do you think about the question, for example: ?This is an unusual question but the answer is yes.?
  • Use the suggested words in brackets.

 

– someone has asked you about your age, (personal)        
– your friend asked you how much do you earn, (awkward)
– someone has asked you about your plans for changing your job, (difficult)
LISTENING AND WATCHING

Watch the video and answer the questions below

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1RfcH_QOOE

And answer the questions:

1. What is the common problem of many bosses?
2. What did Mark?s senior executive say about prioritizing?
3. What is Mark?s advice on what to do when your boss gives you a lot of tasks to do?
4. What do the colors mean in Mark?s rule?

 

READING. Read the text.

How to Answer Hard and Disturbing Questions Intelligently

 

Put on the spot to answer a hard and disturbing question? Afraid of looking dumb? Don’t worry ? use these tactics to buy yourself an escape route whether you’re at home, in conversation at a bar, performing in a scholarly debate, or squirming in class.

 

Understand what is meant by a „hard and disturbing question”. For the purposes of this article, it is assumed that such questions involve personal beliefs, or controversial/challenging topics. For example, questions about: Your sexuality, your involvement in something potentially illegal, your faith, your political beliefs, your understanding of something you are allegedly expert at, your knowledge of someone’s infidelities, etc. Basically, it’s a penetrating question that disturbs, worries, upsets, or flummoxes you and you don’t want to appear on the back foot.

 

1. DON?T ANSWER IT. This is your number one defense reaction. Provide time-buying responses such as:

  • That’s an interesting question. I’ll have to think that one over.
  • I’ve never thought about it like that before. Give me some time to get back to you on it.
  • I’d need the facts first. I’ll do some research and let you know later.
  • Well, that’s an interesting question. I’d like to answer it but I don’t have enough time right now. Can we pick up this thread next time maybe?

2. FLIP THE QUESTION BACK TO THE QUESTIONER. Another stalling device is to return the question to the questioner. Ways of doing this include:

  • Why do you want to know?
  • I don’t know quite how to frame my response. What do you think first?
  • Well, what would you think in that situation?
  • Clearly you have an answer/idea; perhaps you’d care to elaborate on that?

3. DELAY. Use silence as a way to give yourself thinking time. Reassure the questioner that you’re listening by nodding, maintaining eye contact, and using filler comments such as „Yes, interesting point…” and staying silent for a moment while you think about it.

4. ANSWER GRADUALLY. Don’t give out all of the answer straight up; instead mete out your response and make it clear that if more information is required, you will consider entering into a mutual discussion about the matter, provided that the questioner is being genuine and also offers to give their opinions and feelings on the matter. Examples:

  • Yes, I did do that at 3am but I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Are you prepared to elaborate on what it is you really want to know? If so, maybe I can help you more.
  • That isn’t something I’m aware of but perhaps there is something else I can help you with? I do know the Cotswold area well but I am not sure why you are interested in my local knowledge?

5. REFUSE TO ASNWER. As politely as possible, while maintaining eye contact and smiling, or at least not looking fierce, firmly assert that you won’t be answering that question, thanks. If you feel that the question has crossed the boundaries of appropriateness or is too intimate, refusing to answer can be a proper option.

You might say things like:

  • I appreciate your curiosity but I am not comfortable responding to that.
  • I mean no offense but it’s really a case of my business being minded and I decline to answer.
  • No comment, sorry!
  • I’m grateful for your interest but I’m not up to talking about this matter with others who were not involved.
  • That’s way too personal a question. I’m sorry but I just don’t feel right sharing that information with you.
  • I’m sorry but asking me that makes me feel unduly pressured. Please don’t ask that of me again.
  • I’m not in the habit of answering questions that are so incredibly personal. Perhaps you might like to rephrase the question to make it less confronting?

6. USE HUMOR. This is a deflecting manner of responding to a question. Humor can be used to avoid answering a question by making a lighthearted quip or a self-deprecating joke. Humor can also be put to good use to answer the question in a lighthearted manner that pushes aside the disturbing and hard elements of the question. If you want to use this method, you need to be confident with using humor and that isn’t easy.

7. ANSWER IT INTELLIGENTLY. If the question isn’t problematic, it isn’t too personal or grueling, and you know the answer, why not launch into answering it? If you have any sense that the person has tried to outdo you in any way, this is always a super fun way to respond in kind! Keep it light and factual and if you’re debating, make it 

 

Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Answer-Hard-and-Disturbing-Questions-Intelligently

 

Exercise:
Create your own glossary of answers to a difficult question.
Find the answers in the text above.
Write them in the table and tick the ones that are not very polite. Remember to use them carefully.

ANSWERS TO A HARD AND DISTURBING QUESTIONS  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Click here, to see the key!

ANSWERS TO A HARD AND DISTURBING QUESTIONS  
That’s an interesting question. I’ll have to think that one over.
I’ve never thought about it like that before. Give me some time to get back to you on it.
I’d need the facts first. I’ll do some research and let you know later.
Well, that’s an interesting question. I’d like to answer it but I don’t have enough time right now. Can we pick up this thread next time maybe?
Why do you want to know?
I don’t know quite how to frame my response. What do you think first?
Well, what would you think in that situation?
Clearly you have an answer/idea; perhaps you’d care to elaborate on that?
Yes, interesting point…
I appreciate your curiosity but I am not comfortable responding to that.
I mean no offense but it’s really a case of my business being minded and I decline to answer.
No comment, sorry!
I’m grateful for your interest but I’m not up to talking about this matter with others who were not involved.
That’s way too personal a question. I’m sorry but I just don’t feel right sharing that information with you.
I’m sorry but asking me that makes me feel unduly pressured. Please don’t ask that of me again.
I’m not in the habit of answering questions that are so incredibly personal. Perhaps you might like to rephrase the question to make it less confronting?

 

SPEAKING
Practice the answers to difficult questions by using the phrases from the exercises above, in the following situations.

 

What religion are you?
How much do you earn?
Do you go to church?
When are you going to have children?
When are you going to get married?