Copyright © 1987-2013- J. Morris Anderson- Phila. PA- All Rights Reserved

Always think about why you were asked a particular question. On many occasions, a questioner will attempt to frame a question to cause your answer to fall to his advantage. That’s why you must listen carefully, and determine why the question was asked in the manner you heard it. Then plan your strategic answer.

In order to make my point clear, here is an extreme example. Let’s assume you were applying for a position as a receptionist  in a hospital emergency ward and you were asked, “How do you  feel about crippled people, sick people, blind people, and people who are bleeding?  If you did not relax and think before answering, you might say, “I don’t dislike the crippled, the blind, and the bloody, but I prefer not to be around them.”

Certainly, if you had understood why you were asked the question, you would have answered it differently. A hospital would be hindered by a receptionist who did not want to be around patients. Always relax and determine the questioner's motives before answering.

Your answer to a specific question is not likely to achieve anything concrete unless you relax and decide in advance what you want to accomplish with your answer. How else will you know whether or not you have answered the question to the degree of excellence you have set for yourself? That is why it is extremely important for you to relax and set specific objectives.

I once sued Warner Communications, the Jamaica tourist Board and several other defendants in Federal Court for defaming my character. In an attempt to have me adjudicated a “Public Figure”.

In order to make it more difficult for me to prove my case, the attorneys for the defendants deposed me, and they each framed questions to me in search of answers that would enable the defendants  to get away with lying on me by claiming that I sought publicity, and therefore, if they lied on me, I had to prove that it was with malice.

I immediately figured their motives and did not give them the answers for which they were looking.

You should also be as concerned about the delivery of your answer as its content. If delivery is your problem, establish long-and short-term goals to improve your diction and grammar. Good diction and correct grammar must become completely natural to you. You can't succeed by speaking one way in public, another way in private, and a third way with a microphone.

It must be emphasized that the time for self­ improvement is not when answering a question. Don't wait until you are on stage to be concerned about your voice, diction, and articulation. Get your problems corrected at home and in school, not during interviews, auditions, or on stage. Take speech courses. Learn to pronounce those D's, T's, and G's clearly and precisely before you are asked a question. Study basic English grammar and use it over and over again--until you master it. Above all, relax, feel important, and be sincere.

Remember, a direct response is more important than a fast one and an articulate response is as important as one that is merely grammatically correct. Think before you speak. Be direct and address the motives of your audience from the point of your own experiences. Don't hide behind a phony facade.

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