In the US Navy, officer candidates and to a lesser extent, recruits are taught the "Five Basic Responses to a Superior." They are:
I don't know, but I will find out
All of these should be accompanied by sir, ma'am, or (in the case of NCO's) appropriate rank.
YES and NO should be self explanatory, but just in case I'll explain. Yes is the answer to a direct yes/no question. It doesn't mean "maybe", it doesn't mean "might be".
No is the opposite of yes. It also doesn't mean maybe or might be. No means no, yes means yes.
AYE-AYE is the acknowledgement of a command. It has it's roots deep in naval history, probably dating back to the 1500's. It means "I have heard your command and am complying smartly." It does NOT mean I'll do it later, or I might do it.
No excuse. This one is tough for many civilians. It was tough for me. No excuse means "I messed up, I am prepared to accept the consequences and un-#@$% the situation to the best of human ability." It means that in the real world mistakes happen, and regardless of intentions or sympathy or ability you have to own your mistakes, correct your mistakes, and not repeat your mistakes.
I don't know but I will find out. Don't tell me "I don't know." If you really don't know, find out. If you know, start talking.
Naturally there are further responses and complex situations. But these five should be the foundation for any recruit or O candidate.
Whatever your job is in life, you could probably benefit from implementing these five as your basic response set. Except maybe the "aye-aye." Leave that one for the sailors.