How To Handle Questions
How To Handle Questions
Whether you have to give a presentation with a question and answer period afterward, or are about to be interviewed for that new job you desperately want, fear not. In this video tutorial, an instructor in public speaking explains how a few prepared answers can be stretched to cover a multitude of questions.
Hello. My name is Michael Ronayne. I'm a director of the College of Public Speaking, and I'm going to be talking about different aspects of public speaking.
A key mistake people make in handling questions is that they don't have any answers. They think, "I've done my presentation; I've got no idea what's going to come now. They'll ask the questions, and I'll think on my feet.
" And that often doesn't work. It's very well worth doing, is to make sure you have a few prepared areas, even not literally answers. I mean I encourage people, particularly young people going for job interviews, or college interviews, to make sure that if someone asks them a simple question like, "What's your hobby?" they can come up with an answer straight away.
And I had a wonderful, or rather an appalling example of this recently, with a young lady. And I did that, I said, "Well, what's your hobby?" and she went, "Uh, well, um, uh, don't know." And then she came up with something eventually.
Now if that had been an interview, I would have lost interest straight away. Now, it doesn't have to be the number one hobby, but it may be, say for instance, she likes playing tennis. That will do.
"What do you like doing in your spare time?" "Oh, I love playing tennis. I'm quite competitive, and it keeps me fit and healthy." So she's got an answer.
She's prepared an answer that she can use. Now, what you don't want to do is, which unfortunately a lot of politicians seems to do, is they then turn back and say, "That was the wrong question. What you should have asked me was this.
" That never looks very good. That seems a little bit evasive. But if you have a few prepared answers in general topics, and general areas, you'll be amazed how often you can answer the question and maybe adapt it.
Again, to use that example, slightly ridiculous example, but for instance, if someone was interviewing this girl and said, "Well, what do you think? Do you think childhood obesity is a problem in world?" She could say, "Yes, I think it is, I think we should do something about it. Personally, I love playing tennis, and that's my way of keeping fit and healthy, and making sure that I don't put on too much weight." So it's having a prepared answer that, and more often than not, the strange thing is, is that someone is asking you the question, is actually looking for guidance from you.
They ask you a question, and you give them some sort of answer, and you acknowledge their presence in the room, and give them the answer that you want to give them, and nine times out of ten, they'll nod and say, "Thank you very much." Sometimes people ask you particularly nasty questions, and that's the difficult one to handle. The best thing that you can do, if someone asks you a difficult question, give yourself time, pause, think, if you need a little bit more time, maybe you can even paraphrase the question.
So if someone asks, using the example before, "What are your hobbies?" you stop and think. "If I understand rightly, you're asking me what I do in my spare time?" They will probably nod to that, answer it, and then if you've got the chance, then you can then bring on, we call it 'top spinning,' you can then start talking about tennis again. So if you can give them, yourself a bit of time to answer their question quickly, answer it and then move onto something else.
However, if you don't know the answer, for goodness sake, say so. Now, it's said in sales that one bad experience takes about ten, fifteen good ones to make up for it. So the same thing happens here.
If you're caught out on stage bluffing, pretending you know something and you're caught out, it'll take a lot of work to rebuild your reputation. So the best thing to do is put your hands in the air and say, "Look, I'm sorry. I don't know the answer to that question at the moment, but I'll find out for you by tomorrow.
" And then make sure you do. .