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Don’t Fall In The Easy Question Trap!
Would you rather face an easy question or a tough question?
Let me guess which one you’d choose. However, as a Media Trainer and Presentation Coach, I’d choose the tough question. Every time.
That’s because an easy question can often get you into trouble fast.
Imagine you’re about to be hit with some questions from a client. You’re a little nervous and you’re not sure what you’re going to be asked. Then the first question is a breeze. It’s a topic you know about and a question you can easily answer.
What happens? Your brain says, “Hey I’ve got this! I know this! Now …. let me show you how much I know!”
And there-in lies the problem.
When you’re faced with questions on a topic you truly know … it’s human nature to try to prove your knowledge. Plus if it’s a topic you enjoy talking about, you’re more likely to expound and lose track of your answer in the moment. Think about it, if you’re asked to talk about a subject you really know a lot about, like your family, where do you start and where do you stop? If I asked you, “Tell me about your family”… how long would your answer be?
Easy questions can lead to long-winded answers crammed with too much information! When you go on and on, you’re not only diluting your main message, but you’re also adding in more for your audience to focus on. There’s no better way to lose audience attention than to ramble.
So here’s how you can curb yourself when an easy question comes your way. Remember this:
Communicating is not a test!
Effective communication is never a test of how much you know. Successfully communicating means delivering messages with a purpose, not expounding on a topic until you’re off track and out of time. Persuasive communication involves delivering your messages succinctly and backing them up. So don’t try to “pass the test” by proving what an expert you are. Long winded answers lead to tuning out. Instead, stick to your messages and focus on ways to deliver them credibly and concisely.
It can help if you think of your answers like a sieve, one that’s wide at the top and narrows to a small hole at the bottom. Your answers may start out broad at the top, but the goal is to start narrowing focus toward your messages as soon as possible.
So the next time you get a curveball question, be thankful! Hard questions can come in handy. When you’re faced with a tough topic, use the bridging method to help you deliver an answer where your message can truly shine. First, quickly answer or acknowledge the question, transition and build a verbal bridge to your topic. You’ll wind up with a more succinct and successful answer!