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Handling Tough Questions

You just finished briefing the end-of-year spending plan to the new commander. You did a good job, but now comes the part you dread--questions from the commander and staff. Speakers often give good presentations only to do a poor job in the question-and-answer period that follows. What can you do to handle tough questions and give good responses?

Here are eight tips to help you prepare:

* Anticipate their questions. Experienced presenters often practice in front of "murder boards"--knowledgeable people who purposely pur·pose·ly  
adv.
With specific purpose.


purposely
Adverb

on purpose
USAGE: See at purposeful.

Adv. 1.
 ask difficult and demanding questions. Be careful not to get defensive. Tough questions here will prepare you for later.

* Project a positive, warm, polite, friendly image. Smile. Treat questioners the way you'd want to be treated if you were in their place. Convey the attitude that you welcome their questions.

* Restate the question to show you understand. This is especially important if the question is complex, or if it can't be heard by other people in the room. You might say something like, "So what you are asking is ..." or "Let me see if I understand your question. ... "

* Ask for clarification if you don't understand the question. Blame yourself, not the questioner, for your lack of understanding. Never make the questioner look bad. And even if it's a stupid question, treat it as though it were a good one.

* Keep the entire audience involved. Don't look only at the asker when answering the question; look at others, especially the commander and other senior staff members. Don't spend a long time answering a specific question that holds no interest for the commander and other key personnel.

* Make answers as short as possible, yet long enough to answer the question. Organize longer answers. For example, you might say, "Yes, we have three concerns about spending for the Global War on Terrorism Terrorist acts and the threat of Terrorism have occupied the various law enforcement agencies in the U.S. government for many years. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, as amended by the usa patriot act . First.... "

* If you don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)

"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party.
 the answer, and no one else in the room can help, promise you will get back to them ASAP (chat) asap - As soon as possible. . Then do it.

* Frame your answers so that they add supporting material to your points. "Yes, we are making sure we train all new resource advisors on day-to-day operations. Just last week, I met with all RAs to.... " See the question-and-answer period as an extension of your speech.

Remember, the question-and-answer period should enhance an informative briefing, not detract from detract from
verb 1. lessen, reduce, diminish, lower, take away from, derogate, devaluate << OPPOSITE enhance

verb 2.
 it. Be prepared, and it will.

Dr. John A. Kline is a writer and a speaker living in Montgomery, Alabama Montgomery is the capital and second most populous city of the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Montgomery County. Montgomery is notable for its historic involvement during the Civil War, for being the first capital of the Confederacy, and for being a primary site in . He is the director of the Troy University Troy University (formerly Troy State University) is a public university located in Troy, Alabama and founded in 1887, as "Troy Normal School". The main campus enrollment is approximately 6,300 students. The campus itself consists of 36 major buildings on 460 acres (1.  Institute for Leadership Development and a frequent presenter at ASMC ASMC American Suzuki Motor Corporation
ASMC American Society of Military Comptrollers
ASMC Association of Sales & Marketing Companies
ASMC Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Conference
ASMC Area Support Medical Company
ASMC American Small Manufacturers Coalition
 National Professional Development Institutes. Visit his Web site at www.klinespeak.com.
COPYRIGHT 2004 American Society of Military Comptrollers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Dr. John A. Kline gives tips on tackling questions during a presentation
Author:Kline, John A.
Publication:Armed Forces Comptroller
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2004
Words:438
Previous Article:Professional development.
Next Article:Mid-year National Council Meeting.
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