It is always challenging to having unprepared speeches or answering unexpected questions. If you wish to develop yourself on the case, read on for my tips!
We often go off-grid from the subject or struggling to put our answers persuasively. As a result, we lost the audience and could not be able to make an impact.
There are three primary situations, and I would like to offer useful and practical methods to prepare ourselves for these situations.
You might receive questions such as;
· Why should we hire you over other credible candidates?
· Tell us a time where you use initiative in a difficult situation?
I would suggest using the STAR method while answering these types of questions. STAR format is a technique used by interviewers to gather all the relevant information about a specific capability that the job requires.
STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method is straightforward; Listen to the question and think of an event then;
S - Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example. Describe the event or situation that you were in
T – Task (Objective): Describe what your responsibility was in that situation and explain the task you had to complete.
A – Action: Explain what steps you took to address it.
R – Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.
You can adapt this approach in different scenarios as follows;
During Business Meetings
When you attend a meeting, you might expect that there will be discussions for a decision, but sometimes your boss or business associate/partner could ask you direct questions unexpectedly. It might be a strategy to catch you off-guard and get your cards on the table or to test you how prepared you are.
These questions could be;
· Your boss turns to you in a meeting and asks for an update.
· You get called into a meeting to tell them the latest on an issue.
· You are asked an unexpected question while on a panel of speakers.
· You receive unexpected pushback on your ideas at a company meeting.
There are a couple of methods to use; I would suggest using the PREP method to answer any unexpected questions for professional and convincing replies.
1. PREP (Point, Reason, Example, Point)
PREP method a natural structure to use;
P – Point: State your point of view.
“The main point is that impromptu speaking is an extremely valuable skill to have.”
R – Reason: Reasons for your point of view.
“Being able to speak easily in public is empowering.”
E – Example (Explanation / Elaboration): Prove it. Explain how you reached this point of view.
“I can remember the struggle to overcome the fear of standing to speak in front of others. I could not handle the stress and anxiety. However, that is a distant memory.
Today I am more confident, more vibrant, more alive, more willing to take risks and to learn.”
P – Point: Conclude it. Restate your point of view.
“When a person is personally empowered to speak for themselves and others, they are stronger.”
2. PPF Method (Past, Present and Future)
P – Past: “In the past, the answer to the problem we face was...”
P – Present: “As of now, we have XXXXX answers to the problem...”
F – Future: “In the future, we predict we will have XXXXX answers to the problem...”
3. CER Method (Cause, Effect and Remedy)
C – Cause: “The cause of the problem facing us today is XXXX.”
E – Effect: “The effect of the problem is XXXX.”
R – Remedy (Solution): “The solution for the problem is XXXX.”
You can even add in a 4th bullet point as
B – Benefit: “And the benefits are…”
4. BER Method (Before, The Event and The Result)
B – Before: “Before Napier (New Zealand) was a typical small provincial town filled with ordinary people leading ordinary lives.”
E - Event: “Then in 1931, the earthquake (the Event) struck.”
R – Result: “The result was devastation. The town was destroyed and people killed but out of the ruins there rose one of the world's finest Art Deco centres.”
5. Using Transition Phrases
You can also use a transition phrase to give yourself time to think of an answer or to think of a response angle to the question that suits you better.
Summary: “Thank you. I’d be happy to talk about pitching story angles to our daily newspaper.”
Praise: “You’ve raised an important point.”
Redirect: “Actually, let me tell you why I don’t bother pitching stories anymore.”
Bridge: “In dealing with reporters, I believe the key is the quality of the story angles we put to them.”
Social and Personal Situations
When you attend a social activity, good-bye party, birthday, wedding or a sports event, and people ask you to say a few words. Considering that you are not prepared at all, there are some useful methods to use.
You can use FAT (Feeling, Anecdote, Tie Back) Method when you get asked to speak about someone or something; you can always rely on the FAT formula.
F – Feeling: Share your honest feeling about the topic, circumstance or person.
“I want to thank Michael, Amey, and Kira for working with our department over the summer. Their work is greatly appreciated, and I don’t know how we would have done it without them.”
A – Anecdote: Share a relevant story.
“I remember your first day. You were all quiet, taking notes and probably thinking oh my god what a mess. Then surprised us all by your initiative and how quickly you learned. With your help, we caught up on our financial audit.”
T – Tie Back: Make sure you tie it back to the topic you are talking.
“We were so thankful to have you this summer and wanted to wish you the best in your academic career next year. I know some of you will be graduating, and I look forward to hearing from you. I hope you would consider coming back to work with us; Good luck!”
Don’t forget more practice you make more confident you will become. Therefore, do not hesitate to put yourself forward and enjoy every minute of off the cuff challenges.