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Techniques for Answering Questions

You may often need to delay answering a question while you think for a moment or check on your facts. Here are some useful techniques for delaying your answer:
Well, let me see ...
Well now ...
Oh, let me think for a moment ...
I’m not sure, I’ll just have to find out ...
That’s a very interesting question ...

Or you may want to avoid answering altogether, using expressions like these:

I’m not really sure.
I can’t tell you off-hand, I’m afraid.
I’m terribly sorry, I really don’t know.
I’ve no idea, I’m afraid.
I can’t answer that one, but I’ll tell you where you can find out.
I’d rather not answer that, if you don’t mind.
I can’t think of the answer off the top of my head.
I’m sorry. I prefer not to answer that question.
I’m sorry. That’s a hard question for me to answer.
I’m sorry. I’d feel uncomfortable answering that question.
If you don’t mind, I’d rather not answer that.

If you want to change the topic of conversation, you could say:

By the way, did I tell you ...?
I’ve been meaning to tell you ...
On another subject ...
Speaking of [state new topic] I wanted to tell you about ... (use a word or phrase that has been mentioned before in the conversation.)