Basic principles of Question-Answering in technical discussions
Following are some basic principles for question-answering in technical discussions.
- Listen to the questions carefully
- Pause for a second
Pause for one second before answering the question. During that second, reflect whether you FULLY understand the question.
- Ask for clarification if needed
If you are not sure that you FULLY understand the question, ask the questioner to clarify the question.
- "Do you mean this?"
Do not try to answer a question before you fully understand it.
If in doubt, it is alright to ask the questioner "Do you mean this: ...?"
- Is this a "True" or "False" (or "Yes" or "No") question?
Ask yourself: can the question be answered directly? E.g. if the question demands a True or False answer, can you answer True or False?
- Answer the question directly if you can
If the question is a "True" or "False" question, and you feel that the answer directly, then answer it directly.
Don't assume that the reader can deduce from your answer whether you mean "True" or "False". You need to give the direct answer.
- If you cannot answer the answer directly, explain why
If you feel that answering "True" or "False" will mislead the questioner,
tell the questioner that you cannot give a straight answer; explain why.
- Is the question answered?
Check to see if the questioner understands your answer.
Sometimes eye contact will tell you whether the questioner understands your answer.
If in doubt, you may ask the questioner "have I answered your question?"
Practices to avoid:
Poor question-answering sessions could eat up precious time.
- Don't answer a question before the questioner has completed the question.
- Don't answer "yes" out of politeness, in case you confuse the questioner.
- Don't ignore the question and tell the questioners what you have been eager to tell, with the chance that what you say could answer the question.
It normally doesn't!
Basic principles of technical writing /
Basic technical writing Example
The above advice is given by
Edward Tsang; last updated 2015.08.27