Even if you’re a top expert in your field of expertise, it can still be challenging to answer questions in a way that effectively meets the client’s needs and requirements. This guideline aims to help you structure your answers in a more straightforward and fact-driven manner in order to increase the likelihood of further paid engagements with our clients.
1. Answer the question that was asked
Though this is very obvious, we can not stress how critical it is in helping get your answer approved. Besides directly answering the question, a good answer also takes into account the client’s mindset and motivations while posing the question. It does not just state common knowledge or what the client probably already knows through an internet search. A good answer is well-thought and provides in-depth knowledge and insights — all of which is written with the intention of helping the client. The easiest way to tell if your answer meets these criteria is if it tackles all the points mentioned by the client in their question.
2. Support your answer with a compelling rationale
Helpful answers use a logical structure to build an argument and include a convincing rationale. The answer shouldn’t simply be a summary of general facts followed by an overly broad, non-testable prediction of the future.
3. Provide arguments that are built around facts
Even if the question asks for your opinion, formulate your arguments based on factual evidence, demonstrating why your answer is accurate. Sometimes, you may encounter general questions that may require you to respond with conditional statements (e.g. “If you are tall, I recommend X; If you are short, I recommend Y).
4. Demonstrate credibility
To show the client that your insights are derived from a credible source, you can refer to reliable online resources, list on the ground applications of your arguments, or explain what credentials you have that qualify you as a top expert in the area concerning the question. Some of the best answers do not require you to cite sources because they are written by experts with first-hand knowledge and experience. However, if you provide an answer based on third-party sources or analysis (and not based on personal knowledge), it is helpful to state these resources and provide external links (if applicable).
5. Make sure your answer is well-structured and clearly written
A good answer is one that is easy to follow through and clear to understand. Besides being well-structured, a good answer must also have proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. The response should also be written professionally, avoiding jokes, sarcasm or an overly friendly tone.