How to answer a question with a question?

When you are asked a question that you do not know the answers or you feel that you need to find out more before you can confidently answer …

When someone asked you private questions …

"Don’t answer the question you were asked. Answer the question you wish you were asked." ~ Robert McNamara, describing the lessons he learned during his time as Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam War (Morris, Williams, & Ahlberg, 2004) via The Artful Dodger

Answering a question with a question allows us to discover more about others and their needs. However, use this communication method sparingly to avoid being too repetitive and frustrating others.

Spin the Table.

To illustrate, below are some examples.

Q: "Can you please tell me about yourself?" You answer briefly, then ask "[name], can I ask you a quick question about this role?

Q: "What is your salary?" A: "Are you interested in joining this field / my company / my position?"

Q: "What do you think of this?" A: "What’s your view on it?"

Q: "Is this product value for money?" A: "What do you look for in terms of value for money?" You do not have to answer Yes immediately

Q: "Don’t you think it is too expensive?" A: "What makes you think so?" You do not have to immediately say our product is the cheapest in the market.



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