How to answer tough questions for Consulting Engineers?

How to ace those tricky questions

It is not always easy to answer the client’s questions, particularly in open meetings, video calls or face-to-face communications. Some people are good at thinking fast and giving good answers, but maybe they have been asked before. They have built up a rehearsed a formula to respond that works for them.

We did some research amongst some friends and colleagues and focused in on the six most common tough questions that Consulting Engineers often get asked and how best to answer them. Here we provide strategies to answer these six questions. Take note of these, absorb them into your memory bank and for sure you will gain confidence and be more effective in the face of tricky situations and build trust in your client relationships.

In answering these questions, we’re assuming that you are working in some form of multidisciplinary team, perhaps with an architect at other technical professionals. The type and scale of the project work doesn't matter. From our research, from the real world, we know that these questions will come up on the biggest or smallest, at some time, and you will be ready!


It gets easier to think on your feet, the more that you are exposed to tough questions. Techniques can be learnt that help you to avoid making knee-jerk commitments. Knee-jerk answers will probably make your situation worse for you. Try to hold your nerve and give yourself time to think. Analyze and make a rational decision.

Collated by Paul Lengthorn

Chartered Engineer, MBA, BEng, member of the Institute of Asset Management (IAM) and independent practicing Consulting Engineer

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