What should you do if your counterpart asks you a tough question about strategically important information you don’t want to share, like what’s your bottom line or authority? I would never recommend lying – it’s morally wrong and you will be far less effective if you are caught and your credibility takes a hit. Instead, try these blocking techniques to protect your strategic information and your credibility:
1. Change the subject and/or delay answering;
2. Answer a different question;
3. Respond with your own question;
4. Discount the question’s relevance, or ask for clarification;
5. Answer a specific question by focusing on the general, or vice versa; and
6. Refuse to answer due to policy, tradition, lack of authority, etc.