A few years ago, my wife and I decided to put ceramic tile in our entranceway and kitchen. We were undecided about whether to do the job ourselves or to hire a contractor.

One evening, I went to our local Home Depot to do some research. I had the good fortune of encountering a very confident young man who had obviously installed a lot of ceramic tile. How did I know he was confident? He did not feel compelled to talk endlessly whenever I asked him a question.

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In fact, he simply answered each question and stopped talking, waiting patiently for the next question.

In the 15 or 20 minutes that we chatted, I easily asked more than 100 questions. My 18-year-old son was with me and, as we were walking out of the store he remarked: “Dad, that was amazing. I can’t believe how much I learned. I know exactly how to install tiles and what needs to be done. You asked great questions.”

Actually, I didn’t ask great questions. I was simply given the opportunity to ask a lot of questions — which I would never have gotten if the person answering did not pause-answer-stop.

We ended up hiring someone to install the tiles, so some could argue that he lost a sale and didn’t achieve his organization’s objectives. However, that’s short-sighted. The reason? Based on that experience, my local Home Depot is my first stop whenever I’m even thinking about any kind of improvement to our home.

Want to educate an prospects or clients at your next sales presentation? Let them educate themselves by asking lots of questions.

They’ll be engaged. And the information won’t be yours any longer. When they ask about it, the information becomes theirs.

Worried about being interrupted? You won’t if you keep your answers succinct Want a reporter to trust you? Want the management team or board of directors to trust that you’ll deliver? Teach yourself the same simple tactic.

Pause. Answer the question asked (and only the question asked). Stop talking.