You can cause conflict when you respond to questions in an aggressive or rude way. Here are three tips you should remember when you respond to people’s questions:
- Don’t defend. A defensive reaction creates a barrier between you and the questioner.
- Don’t disparage. A question that strikes you as silly or too obvious could represent an important concern to the questioner. Steer clear of belittling remarks that imply you think it’s not worth answering: “Why would you ask a question like that?” or “We don’t have time to get into that.”
- Don’t debate. The person asks a question, you respond. Then the person asks another, more argumentative question. Don’t let it derail the conversation. End the debate by saying “I appreciate your concern. Why don’t we discuss it after we finish going over these details?”
— Adapted from, Lani Arredondo, McGraw-Hill, www.mcgrawhill.com.