We Answer Questions
all day long, right??? I’ve pretty much built my entire business on answering clients’ questions about how to communicate with more impact and success. I bet you do something similar in your work. It’s kind of like answering your personal “WHY?” question.
These two words wrap up the whole concept of a good answer. So easy for me to write; so hard to do IRL. I understand and I sympathize. The world, our professions, our business objectives are getting more complicated, not less. In fact, I just wrote about this last month.
What’s the Answer?
Edit, edit, edit. Use a 1-2-3 construct. Key messages. Lead with the point. Be honest.
Edit, Edit, Edit
You get asked a question. The typical response is you whipping through your mental rolodex of everything you know about the topic at hand. And you know a lot. So the real task is how to edit out most of what you could say and settle on the most salient, current info. Of course, this all happens in seconds. Practicing (out loud) really does help build this skill. Brevity wins.
Use a 1-2-3 Construct
Thinking in 3’s always works. Adapt to your own setting:
1. Short, pointed overview statement
2. Supporting factoid/data/back-up info
3. Summarize your point
Another 1-2-3 Construct in Today’s Video (2:02)
Know Your CBA’s
Sometimes referred to as your “must air” points, these are your foundation. What you want to say, feel most comfortable talking about, your area of expertise, etc. Depending on your environment, key messages might be longstanding or change with the daily market. But knowing them provides you with a starting baseline and feels reassuring.
Lead With The Point
Warning! This can feel totally counter-intuitive. But it is so compelling. Don’t get to your point; lead with it. Think headline. Top of the pyramid.
When you don’t know the answer:
1. I don’t have the most current data/recent report…; I’m not the best person to…
2. Let me check the/research the…; I’ll confer with…
3. I will have it for you by…
Rethink questions. They aren’t meant to trip you up or point out your inadequacies. Think of them as a great opportunity to share your expertise, to help others understand, to build rapport. Trust your own experience and intelligence. You’ve got this.
And stay cool…it’s hot out there!
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