Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Are there any questions?

IT’S ALMOST a standard closing after slide presentations, including webinars, to check if there are any questions from the audience. (Are they still around with no audio/video?) The absence of questions can indicate: a.) lack of interest; b.) the presenter already running over his time limit; or, c.) everyone has already left.

Questions are a form of social greeting.

When asked how one is coping with the crisis, does the standard response still apply? Is the query intended to gauge how the pandemic has affected us? In terms of health, wealth, and mental well-being? Should one even attempt a full answer (do you have time?) or just treat the casual question with a grim reply — I just tested positive.

Quick exit.

In its neutral form, a query is a simple request for information on a topic, sometimes a sensitive one. (Can we move on from first base?) A stunned silence may be the right answer — wait, my Grab ride is here.

Can questions also equate to orders, as when the interrogator sits higher in the food chain? A corporate query, “have you finished the report I asked for?” is not asking for simple information. (Getting there, Sir.) It can be a rebuke for being too delayed in one’s commitments.

The question “Where is the elevator?” is an example of a simple request for directions. There is no implied reproach of somehow having misplaced a structural feature of the building. Only the truly paranoid will inject some hidden insult in the simple request for directions — is he implying that I am short?

Answers required under oath are a special category. Lawyers are tasked to coach the respondent on the proper way to address such questions. Those who have been witnesses, resource persons, or avid followers of media-covered hearings observe that questions can be longer than the answers being sought. (Just give an answer of “yes” or “no.”)

Questions from supplicants are seldom a case of gathering information. This includes questions on jobs, keeping one that one has (Sir, am I included in the downsizing exercise?) or getting an acquaintance into the company as a supplier of egg tarts. These include follow-up questions that only seek reassurance — Are you sure you won’t change your mind again?

Media practitioners asking questions are viewed as legitimate interrogators seeking clarifications in the arena of public interest. Journalists though can be like congressional investigators in eliciting answers that make news. This bias for controversy is seen in TV talk shows (even when the interviewee is answering from home) where the host forces a guest to a conclusion he is trying to avoid. (Why are you so consumed in looking for an evil motive here?) The host is quick to stop this unscripted cheekiness — Let me do the asking, Sir.

Ambush interviews are a variant of hostile questioning. A well-thought-out response is called for — no comment. The setting of this gotcha moment is not conducive to sharing information. Too many people are blocking the way to the exit.

Questions among friends are driven by social convention. Unless the one asking is a rival for a position, the straight reply works best. If one is asked if he is aware of an outside luminary coming in for his position, he can give a simple negative reply and then vomit afterwards in the washroom — where is the elevator?

Some questions do not even require answers. The “rhetorical question” is in the debater’s toolkit. It is self-contained and usually hurled as an insult. Do you think you have all the answers, Mr. Smarty Pants? (Can you repeat the question?)

The complexity of questions and answers is a subject worthy of a sociological study. Answers to even the most difficult questions tend to be anticipated. It is best not to raise a question if the answer is likely to be unacceptable — do you still have feelings for me? (Are you sure you want to know?)

Philosophical questions are a special category. They are inquiries one makes on oneself. What is the meaning of life? There is no need for an immediate response. It’s good to sleep over this one. In the morning a new question will pop up — what’s for breakfast?


Tony Samson is Chairman and CEO, TOUCH xda

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.
Your information is secure and your privacy is protected. By opting in you agree to receive emails from us. Remember that you can opt-out any time, we hate spam too!



British Airways has begun cancelling flights to America over concerns signals from 5G mobile phone masts could endanger the lives of passengers. The UK...


The unstoppable rise of the online marketplace model – operated by the likes of Amazon, Expedia and eBay – is driving the largest fundamental...


Boris Johnson has declared the end of coronavirus restrictions today as officials step up plans for post-pandemic Britain. Working-from-home guidance and Covid passes will...


Social media stars including Jodie Marsh and five ex-Love Islanders including Francesca Allen are to be subjected to a name and shame Instagram campaign...


Private details of hundreds of debit and credit cards in the UK are being leaked on the dark web every week for as little...


Inflation has risen to its highest level in nearly three decades because of a spike in the cost of a range of goods and...

You May Also Like


Having a good Instagram marketing agency to back up your Instagram account is an absolute must going into the new year. With competition stronger...


Ivermectin, an existing drug against parasites including head lice, has had a checkered history when it comes to treating COVID-19. The bulk of studies...


Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the global population. Therefore, it is a problem that many people suffer or have suffered throughout...


As a traditionally rigid insurance industry becomes bogged down by antiquated processes and operations, a handful of industry leaders are seeking to shake things...

Disclaimer:, its managers, its employees, and assigns (collectively "The Company") do not make any guarantee or warranty about what is advertised above. Information provided by this website is for research purposes only and should not be considered as personalized financial advice. The Company is not affiliated with, nor does it receive compensation from, any specific security. The Company is not registered or licensed by any governing body in any jurisdiction to give investing advice or provide investment recommendation. Any investments recommended here should be taken into consideration only after consulting with your investment advisor and after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Copyright © 2021 SmartRetirementReport. All Rights Reserved.