57. Public Speaking Intermediate: 5. Module 4: Answering Questions


This week, we look at the art of answering questions….. Without being given time to prepare, in other words, impromptu speaking.

How do we prepare for times when we are not prepared?

I have a few basic tips I try to follow:

  1. At any point in time, try to be as widely read as you can. Read newspapers, read social media, read encyclopaedias, read magazine articles, read fiction, read self help books.

  2. Choose a few key topics, and, read as deeply as you can. Be an expert in a few important areas. Try one area of work and one area that is non work.

  3. For these topics, subscribe to a periodical, whether a hobby magazine, or a professional newsletter. Keep up to date in those areas.

  4. For any meeting or event that you are attending, always try to equip yourself with as much background knowledge as you can.

  5. Expose yourself to good literature by reading, listening to good radio stations / podcasts, and listen/watch experts as they do public speaking, for e.g. tedtalks.com

  6. During self allocated time, try to brainstorm by yourself: use mind mapping to stretching your ideas in specific topics.

The above takes time, discipline and effort. Do them as consistently as you can until it becomes a habit.

Then, look for opportunities to do impromptu speaking as often as you can in as many different settings as possible.

Then, whenever you speak remember these few tips:

  1. Respect the parties you are speaking to

  2. Be politically correct whenever possible

  3. Look for win-win solutions

  4. Always put yourself in the listener's shoes first before and when you speak.

The idea is to do the stuff consistently so that you can get used to doing them instinctively!

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