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Key Learnings for Handling Audience Pressure

Do:

  • Anticipate questions beforehand. If you work at it, you can predict nine out of ten of what you’ll be asked.

  • Rehearse the answers with your experts present. Know your facts are right before you go live.

  • Always restate or rephrase the question. Not sometimes. Always.

  • Identify the issue at the core of the question. Rephrase on the issue.

Don’t:

  • Think about the answer until you have rephrased the question. If you do that, the answer will be there.

  • Answer back by directly addressing the questioner. He or she will trap you with another question, and another. You want dialogue, not monologue.

  • Think you can wing it without rehearsal. That’s hubris. You gain nothing but could lose everything.

  • Try to put down a questioner. If you’re successful, the audience won’t forgive you. If you’re not, they won’t forgive you. Either way, you lose.


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