Generally, there are three types of questions:

  1. Those you want to answer.
  2. Those you don’t want to answer.
  3. Those that don’t belong here.

As not answering a question is often more difficult than answering it, here is my comprehensive list of giving an answer – but not nescessarily answering the question:

  1. Ignore the question
  2. Acknowlede the question without answering it
  3. Questioning the question
    • Requesting more explanation
    • Bouncing the question back: ‘Explain to me …’
  4. Attacking the question
    • The question does not address the key topic under discussion
    • The question is hypothetical or speculative
    • The question is based on a faulty premise
    • The question is not facutal accurate
    • The question contains a quote that has been taken out of context
    • The question is offensive
  5. Refuse to answer
    • Because you cannot answer
    • Because you do not want to answer
    • ‘I can’t speak for someone else’
    • Delaying the answer (‘You will have to wait and see’)
    • Claiming ignorance
    • Referring to policy
  6. Providing an incomplete answer
    • Starting an answer but not finishing it (interrupting yourself)
    • Providing a „negative“ answer: the politician says what is not going to happen instead of what is going to happen
  7. Repeating the answer to another question
  8. Saying or implying that the question has already been answered
  9. ‘Excusing’ yourself: (‘Excuse me, but…’)
  10. Taking the question literally


However, the real deal is the real practice. As you don’t learn to swim by pure theory, you need practice to be a proficient „question-answerer“. And for the same reason you won’t jump in deep water before being able to swim alone, do a media training to get the practice. Our approach is fully practice oriented. This is why our trainees love it!