They’re a natural part of life…questions, that is.  Questions can come up in any number of places such as websites, conversations, interactions, meetings,  presentations, as well as in-person or online interviews.  And yet, we’re often surprised when we’re asked certain questions or worse yet we may feel ill-prepared.

Here are a few ideas to consider with respect to planning to respond to questions.

  1. Keep a list of frequently and not so frequently asked questions.
  2. Make brief notes in the form of bullets after each question and update as needed.
  3. When you’re being interviewed by media, ask if you may submit a few optimal questions for the reporter or interviewer to pose.
  4. Conversely, if your media interviewer already has questions to ask, you may politely ask to see these questions or a sample of these questions in advance.
  5. Be prepared for any questions you submit to have the interviewer either not ask them at all or reword them from how you submitted them.  This is quite normal so you’re encouraged to expect this change.
  6. Not all media interviewers are the same and some are more adept than others. Therefore you may wish to clarify by saying “Let me see if I understand what you’re asking.”  You may encounter multiple questions that are rolled into one in which case you can say “Sounds like several good questions so let me answer them separately.”  Another possibility is that the interviewer poses a question that makes no sense to you so you may say “I want to be sure I’m answering your question so could you restate your question for me?
  7. What you’re doing in essence is buying time and creating space to think about your response and then answer the question.
  8. One additional possibility is that your media interviewer asks a question for which you don’t know the answer.  Don’t try to fake your response as that could come back to hurt your reputation.  Instead try saying “The closest experience I’ve had to what you’re asking is X so I’ll speak to that.”

Questions are a form of public speaking which is why they’re an excellent way of getting out your message.  Try out these guidelines and keep your question list readily accessible.

Want to discuss this topic with me?

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