Coach Chris Answers Your Questions

What do I do when...

What do I do when ...

People have questions?


February 2, 2010
By Christine K. Jahnke

At some point in your career it is likely you will face a questioner who acts like an interrogator. There are ways to neutralize hostile questions from reporters, audience members, even workplace associates. These tips will help prevent you from stumbling or becoming defensive.

#1 Rule - Establish Ground Rules:

  • Advise your listeners if and when you will take questions.
  • Ask the questioner to state their name and affiliation prior to asking a question.
  • Limit the amount of time available for questions.

Key Strategies:

  • Ask for clarification of the question if it is needed.
  • Be politely assertive when interrupted.
  • Don't allow anyone to put words in your mouth. Correct all errors.
  • When hit with a critical statement admit any wrong doing and then transition to something more proactive or a point of agreement.
  • Close the question period by saying, "I have time for one or two more questions."

At Positive Communications we can help you prepare to field question in your next interview, town hall meeting, or panel discussion.


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