Tip #42: "That's a great question"

Tip 42: “That’s a great question.”

The single most common response to a question asked by an angel investor in a group meeting is “That’s a great question.”

It isn’t a terrible way to start: a bit of flattery is nice and it gives you a second or two to marshal your thoughts to reply. Nonetheless, tip 42 is not saying it, for a couple of reasons.

First, it takes time, and every second counts. Second, why lie? (Chances are, it really wasn’t a great question.) Third, why was her question great and mine wasn’t?

But most importantly remember that most companies don’t get funded. Why say exactly the same thing as the last person that pitched?

If it really really is a great question, then say it and briefly explain why it’s such a great question. But most questions you will get aren’t going to be great, so you’re better off just answering the question and moving onto the next one.

For a similar take on avoiding "negative space" in Q&A, have a read of David Cohen.