Monday, July 30, 2007

don't get caught without questions

Before you give a speech or media interview, take the time to anticipate questions. While many trainers simply focus on tough questions, we've seen many people stumble over the so-called 'softballs,' queries that ask for simple explanations or facts you assume you know well. When we conduct media training, we ask participants to develop three sets of questions:
- Questions you want: Once you know the questions you want, you can think about how to prompt them in an interview or speech, by including related content or simply introducing the angle yourself.
-Questions you expect: To fully develop this list, you should scan recent news coverage related to your topic, consider well-known controversies or facts that appear to contradict your point, and any information about you or your topic that's easily accessed. Don't get caught limiting this list to the most predictable questions or just the first to come to mind!
-Questions you fear: We've never had a client who failed to come up with this list. Used constructively, it can help you explore not only well-reasoned responses, but approaches that help you present yourself and your information more effectively.
Finally, think about questions that pertain to you, the ones over which many people stumble. Will you disclose personal views? Talk about your children or family? Share your own experience on the topic?

David Genovesi of the ARTROM Gallery in Italy has posted his list of 22 questions he hopes he's never asked in an interview, starting with "What is art?" -- an artful example of a 'softball' question that can be easy or difficult to answer. (We hope he started working on the answers before posting this list to the Web.) What's on your list? To find out more about our group or one-on-one trainings in media interview skills or public speaking and presentation, contact us at, and check out our sister blog, The Eloquent Woman, for more on giving great speeches and presentations and become a fan of The Eloquent Woman on Facebook.

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