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This evaluation of the question asked is often a stalling tactic—an effort to buy time while thinking. Occasionally, it might be a sincere response to an especially thoughtful question.
The problem is that if you say, “That’s a good question,” you’re elevating yourself above the questioner. If you’re an executive in a meeting, you’ll sound condescending toward the employee who’s asked the question. If you’re a job seeker, you’ll sound arrogant (or, equally bad, fawning) in praising the hiring manager interviewing you.
Throughout the world of business, dialogue involving Q+A has replaced speeches and presentations as the format of choice for sharing ideas. Executives are frequently interviewed on stage, job candidates confront a battery of questions designed to trip them up, and most formal meetings involve back and forth discussion involving questions and answers.
Your job is to answer the question, not evaluate it. Instead of commenting on the quality of the question, pause. Don’t be afraid to take a moment to think in silence, and, when you’re ready, make sure you respond confidently.
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