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How to Answer Difficult Questions (ohne Blockade...)

Have you ever been asked a difficult question in English that you didn't know how to answer? Did you find yourself overwhelmed by the situation, panicked or even mentally blocked by the thought of needing to answer the question in English?

Don't underestimate the power of pausing, and even giving yourself a few moments to compose yourself and map out your thoughts before giving an answer. This is an essential skill for speakers of English as a second language as staying calm really helps people to get the most out of their language skills.

In this post I look at some simple language that can be used to buy yourself some essential thinking time, which if done right, can both be extremely helpful for staying calm and composed when using English as well as helping you to look much more diligent and thoughtful in your responses.

We'll start by watching a short video by Communicational Skills Coach Vinh Giang then I'll add some functional language that can be incorporated into your English immediately.

Okay, let's watch the video below;

In the video Vinh demonstrates a simple response that can be used to buy some thinking time; "Do you mind if I take a few moments to organise my thoughts. I want to be able to add the most possible value to you".

to add to this how about;

  • That's a really good question, and I'd like to give it a good answer, just give me a moment to think about it.

  • It's not that easy to give a simple answer to this question, do you mind if I just quickly get my thoughts together?

  • Let me just quickly think of the best way to answer this question.

  • I really want to give you a good answer to this question, let me just think about it for a moment.

All of these could be easily adapted to written communication by simply adding "I'll get back to you with an answer in/by/on (time)".

Putting this into practice: I'd like to reflect a little bit more on times in the past where you were asked a difficult question, either in English or your native language. How helpful would it have been to use some of these sentences to buy yourself some more time to think about an appropriate response?

These kinds of techniques and functional language can easily form the basis of English lessons, so if you would like to speak about how I can help you to improve your English then please just get in contact via to arrange a free video call!

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