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Westside Toastmasters is located in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California

Coping With Commonly Asked Problem-Causing Questions

Upon occasion, you may find that you've been asked a question that puts you in a sticky situation. Here are some of these types of questions, and ways you can answer them quickly and professionally.

Loaded Question

Q: 

How much damage has this allegation done to your agency?

With respect, I don't agree with your premise. In fact...  * Don't accept the premise by trying to ignore it.  * Instead, challenge the premise politely, but firmly.  * Then move on to your message.

Answers

A: 

With respect, I don't agree with your premise. In fact...

  • Don't accept the premise by trying to ignore it.

  • Instead, challenge the premise politely, but firmly.

  • Then move on to your message.

Personal Opinion

Q: 

What about your personal opinion?

I don't believe the issue is my personal opinion. The issue is...  * Keep your personal opinion out of it.

Answers

A: 

I don't believe the issue is my personal opinion. The issue is...

  • Keep your personal opinion out of it.

Question—Don't Know Answer

Q: 

How much was the investment?

I wouldn't want to give you off-hand information. I will get the right information for you.  * Say you don't know/offer to get it.  * Never lie; never guess.

Answers

A: 

I wouldn't want to give you off-hand information. I will get the right information for you.

  • Say you don't know/offer to get it.

  • Never lie; never guess.

Questions—You Know the Answer but You Are Not Allowed to Say

Q: 

What was the amount of the offer?

I'm not in a position to say because: (that information is confidential; the issue is before the courts; it would be inappropriate for me to comment; the issue is very sensitive; the issue is currently under discussion/ review/negotiation).  * Give reason why you can't answer.

Answers

A: 

I'm not in a position to say because: (that information is confidential; the issue is before the courts; it would be inappropriate for me to comment; the issue is very sensitive; the issue is currently under discussion/ review/negotiation).

  • Give reason why you can't answer.

Getting Boxed In (2 Options From Which to Choose)

Q: 

Are you going to increase funding or maintain the status quo?

Our goal is to provide quality service.  * Ignore two options.  * Begin with straightforward statement or theme.

Answers

A: 

Our goal is to provide quality service.

  • Ignore two options.

  • Begin with straightforward statement or theme.

Persistent Questioning

Q: 

...then why won't you reveal the strategy?

As I mentioned, the strategy is in place, ready to go, and we'll announce it at the appropriate time. So with all due respect, it's pointless to go over the same ground again.  * Politely but firmly signal you're not going to give in.  * Repeat your message.

Answers

A: 

As I mentioned, the strategy is in place, ready to go, and we'll announce it at the appropriate time. So with all due respect, it's pointless to go over the same ground again.

  • Politely but firmly signal you're not going to give in.

  • Repeat your message.

Open-Ended/Vague Question

Q: 

Tell me about your organization.

What specific aspect are you interested in?  * Ask for clarification/focus.

Answers

A: 

What specific aspect are you interested in?

  • Ask for clarification/focus.

Rumor

Q: 

There's rumor that other companies may be interested in developing a similar product ...

It would be inappropriate to respond to rumors; we'll just have to deal with that issue if and when it arises or I've seen no evidence to support that rumor.

Answers

A: 

It would be inappropriate to respond to rumors; we'll just have to deal with that issue if and when it arises or I've seen no evidence to support that rumor.

Multi-Part Question

Q: 

What impact will the changes make...and will you be able to continue to...at the same time or will you have to...?

Let me begin with your first question. The changes will make us more efficient and more responsive to the public. With regard to the question of....  * Choose the question that is easiest for you and will help make your point.  * You don't have to answer them all at once.

Answers

A: 

Let me begin with your first question. The changes will make us more efficient and more responsive to the public. With regard to the question of....

  • Choose the question that is easiest for you and will help make your point.

  • You don't have to answer them all at once.


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