How Do I Handle Incorrect Responses?

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You ask your question and wait. The first hand shoots up in the air and they share their answer.

And it’s wrong.

What now?

This is a situation every trainer is faced with and every trainer grapples with just how to handle it. You want to preserve the enthusiasm of your learners, but you don’t want them to leave with incorrect information.

What to do?

Keep in mind, it is our first priority to make sure people leave the training room with correct information. When you ask a question that people respond to incorrectly, you’ve got to gently suggest the correct response. Sometimes that will naturally happen with someone else in the room correcting the incorrect information.

Depending on the situation here are a few suggestions:

Show Me Your Work

Try to discover just how they got to their answer. This is useful with confusing or new calculations and processes.


  • “Can you explain how you got to that answer.”
  • “Tell me a little more about your thinking.”

This approach can help uncover the mistakes in logic being made. Odds are someone else in the room has made them as well.  Of course this approach requires time and careful questioning skills.

Suggest An Alternative

If you have limited time or want to avoid a potentially heated discussion offer:

    • “I see how you can get to that answer, let me suggest a different way of looking at it.”
    • “That’s a common misconception, let me offer another perspective.”

Get To The Point

Some times it is best to just say, “that is incorrect. Here is the correct answer.”

Has this happened to you? How did you handle it?

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