Video Blog for Trainers: Don’t Answer that Question!

Debrief Blog

If you facilitate training sessions, you probably get lots of questions from your students. As a subject matter expert you may have a tendency to simply answer those questions. That’s the most natural response. It feels like you’re being helpful, sharing your knowledge with others. Have you ever considered not answering those questions? There may be real benefits to taking a more thoughtful approach.

Watch a short video about taking a different approach to handling questions

Consider this. The person answering the question has to analyze the question, determine the correct answer, formulate a response and then communicate the response. That’s a valuable process to go through if you’re learning something new.  If you answer the question, you’re not learning anything, because you already know the answer. If your students try to answer the question, even if the answer isn’t correct, they are way more likely to learn something.

The next time you’re asked a question as a trainer, try one of these approaches:

– Ask the student to think about what he/she thinks might be the answer to the question, based on everything  learned so far, or;

– Ask others in the classroom to suggest an answer to the student’s question, or;

– Refer to something that has already been taught in the class and ask the student to apply that knowledge to the question they just asked.

This method is especially useful for leadership training, since a large part of leading is analyzing a situation and selecting the most effective approach. It may not be appropriate for all questions you receive as a trainer, but if you believe that there are benefits for the learner to work through their own questions, you’ll be amazed how often this approach works.

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