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Smart People Don’t Answer Questions At Once, They Follow These Steps First

Smart People Don’t Answer Questions At Once, They Follow These Steps First

Many of us think that the faster we respond, the smarter we sound.

But have you regretted saying the wrong things and you wish you didn’t say it so quickly? Remember how you often realize you should say this instead of that before you go to bed?

The best response usually don’t come instantly, and smart people know this very well. Before they answer a question, they go through some steps first.

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    The flow is, pause before everything else. Then, divert the question if you don’t want to answer it actually. But if you want to answer and can do it at once, hold yourself before the editing process.

    Pause and allow yourself to think

    When you can’t think of an answer immediately, and people are waiting for you, don’t let the pressure to respond quickly stop you from saying “let me think” or “I need some time to think about it”. It’s better to wait for a while for a great answer than replying at once with nonsense. People won’t remember how long you take to process the answer after they get wowed and impressed by your amazing and logical thoughts.

    Dodge the question with skill

    We all have that moment when someone asked an inappropriate question. Sometimes, you are not required to answer every question thrown at you. While you think and pause, you can divert the question if you don’t feel like answering that question or you just don’t know the answer. Robert MacNamara epitomized this when he said,

    Never answer the question that is asked of you. Answer the question that you wish had been asked.

    It goes for any tricky situation, like a job interview.

    Imagine the interviewer asks you on the reason of quitting your previous job, you don’t have to explain yourself. You could simply say, “Talking about my previous job, I did this and that. I learned and developed different skills like managerial skills, communication skills, etc. And I wish to challenge myself more.

    While you are not completely responding what the other person is asking, you are giving them a rational answer, and selling yourself at the same time. This is the magical power of language.

    Of course, there are more methods to diverting a question, like turning the tables or using transition devices to move to the next question, here is more.

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    Edit your words before you say them aloud

    Smart people don’t stutter. While they pause before answering, they think about few things:

    • How can I present my ideas in a way people can understand at once?
    • How can I impress them with my answer?
    • Would my answer be inappropriate or offensive?

    Take the flow, the content, and the length of your response all into deep consideration, and you could definitely stun your listeners with your answer.

    If possible, visualize a mind map in your head and quickly go through the points you want to hit, and elaborate on your points as you are answering the question.

    That’s hard, I am bad at putting my thoughts together.

    You don’t have to overshare when you are giving an answer. Sometimes less is more. Don’t give yourself too much pressure and to give the “perfect” response. In most situations, there is not an absolute answer. There is also not a rubric grading how all-arounded or politically correct your answer is.

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    To sound smart, you simply pause and think of what you want to say, take a deep breath and answer with confidence. The more you practice this pause-then-answer method, I’m sure you will sharpen your skill and perfect the art of answering questions in no time.

    Featured photo credit: Kazuhiro Shiozawa via flickr.com

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    Frank Yung

    Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

    You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

    1. Connecting them with each other

    Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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    It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

    2. Connect with their emotions

    Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

    For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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    3. Keep going back to the beginning

    Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

    On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

    4. Link to your audience’s motivation

    After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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    Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

    5. Entertain them

    While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

    Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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    6. Appeal to loyalty

    Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

    In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

    7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

    Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

    Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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