Got feedback that I could respond to questions faster - How to process it?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Series C Startupa year ago

When people talk to me, I have a tendency to pause. This has led to feedback that colleagues wish I could answer their questions faster. The problem is that I need to pause for some questions as I need the time to think and formulate a good response. Is there a way I can incorporate this feedback without sacrificing my answer quality?

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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    a year ago

    Before I share any advice, let's take a little bit of time to be empathetic here: If I were talking to someone for a lengthy period of time sharing all this deep context about an important problem I have and all this was met with silence, I would probably feel a little annoyed/confused/disrespected.

    So how do we fix this?

    My first thought is to make sure that you're deeply engaged as they're talking. For tactics on how to do that (of which there are many), check out my video on "Deep Listening".

    As for how to respond, I have actually faced that situation many times before, often times with Taro Premium members as I chat with them and try to learn about their problems. The insight here is that you don't need to have an amazing answer off the bat, you just need to say something. Here's some tactics on how to do that:

    • Say something like: "That's really interesting - Let me think about this. This is a tricky problem, so I want to make sure I give you a good answer." - This is extra powerful and it shows that you care about them and want to give a good response.
    • If it makes sense, thank them for sharing so much! It can be something as simple as: "Thank you for sharing all that with me.". I do this when people share more personal details or have clearly just spent a lot of time thinking through their question and how to ask it properly.