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Never Underestimate the Power of Warmth

Some speakers set a positive tone by complimenting the questioner: "That's a perceptive question" or "That question goes right to the heart of the matter" establishes a warm, receptive atmosphere. Even if the question sounds truly hostile, you can still compliment the questioner: "We can always look to Jack to go straight for the jugular." This tactic is best used occasionally; if you begin every answer with a compliment, you will start to sound insincere. Try varying your adjectives and your phrases: "That's a really touchy question," "That's a truly appropriate question," or "I was hoping some one would ask that." There is no law that you have to preface each question with a compliment—just answer the question. If you do a good job that should be enough.


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