Check out today’s teatime titbits: Speak like a (native) politician.
Let’s face it, nobody likes the politicians ability to effortlessly waffle on about (schwafeln) nothing before giving some vague answer in the last sentence at best – by which you’ve usually switched off so you missed the punchline (Pointe) or wriggle out of (sich aus etw herauswinden) answering questions completely at worst.
Naturally, I would never want you to sound like a politician, but there are occasions where having a few phrases in your arsenal to gain time or maybe even refuse answering a question could be useful.
So here goes – my phrases for dealing with difficult questions:
1. How to gain thinking time …. even a few milliseconds gives you time to sort out your response.
- I’m afraid I didn’t (quite) catch your question. Would you mind repeating it?
- I’m not sure I understood / understand the question, are you asking me ……?
- What exactly do you mean by?
- That’s a very interesting / good question (, which I am often asked ……)
2. You don’t actually know the answer, but try to be helpful:
- I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to that, but what I can say is …
- That’s really a question for the experts, but my guess would be…
- I’m not an expert on the subject, but ..
3. Refuse to answer – but do it nicely – “I’m afraid“ is always a good lead-in
- I’m afraid, I’m not in a position to answer that
- You’ll understand that I can’t comment on that
- It’s too early for anyone to say at present
Hope those simple and yet effective phrases will get you out of a tight spot (den Kopf aus der Schlinge ziehen) sometime.
Heard any other good phrases on your travels? Why not put them in a comment below – keep them clean, please?