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

A clear evaluation of a question prior to opening your mouth is crucial to mastering the concept of responding to questions. When listeners are awaiting your answer, you must relax with your mind, your ears and your eyes wide open. This will prevent you from losing control of yourself and providing answers with which you would not be satisfied.

Clearly evaluating questions requires a special alertness and entails developing a different kind of intelligence. This will cause you to respond naturally with rapidity and positivity. A proper evaluation means assessing the most penetrating and positive effect a response will have on an audience. However, your first duty before you ever open your mouth must be to take a deep breath, become totally relaxed and say in your mind: "1 am the most important person in this room. I love myself and I am in control here.

The importance of this first step cannot be overemphasized. It must be executed before you attempt to answer the question. Once you relax and establish with certainty that you love yourself and that you are the most important person in the room, you will never have any problems executing the remaining steps. This step is so absolutely necessary because the majority of people who blow their questions are nervous and tense.

You can't evaluate questions when you're a miserable, ugly bundle of nerves.
For example, Shirley, Miss Nebraska, was asked whether she felt men should perform as much housework as women and, if so, why. Shirley took a deep breath, became deeply relaxed and said to herself," I love myself, 1 am important and I am a beautiful woman."She remained relaxed and continued to evaluate the question in terms of her own experiences, without allowing TENSION to infiltrate her mental, spiritual and physical systems.

Shirley was only interested in winning the pageant, in expressing her point of view in the most positive manner without becoming involved in the controversy of the question. She knew that if she created friction between herself, the questioner, the audience, or the judges, she would find it much harder to have her answer make a penetrating, positive impact on her listeners. She realized that her audience and the master of ceremonies may have belief systems exactly opposite to hers. Therefore, Shirley directed her answer straight to the judges. Their job was to be objective and make independent decisions based on their reaction to what they heard. She knew if she played her cards right the judges would cast votes favorable to her.

She maintained a relaxed posture, smiled to prove her confidence, and said, "I feel a man and a woman should work together. Each should do his or her part. The amount of work each does in the house should depend on the capabilities and amount of time each has to offer. Shirley's answer was positive and in good taste. It did not offend the male or female members of the judging panel. Yet, it explained her inner­most feelings about the question. Her answer was presented in a concise, clear and positive manner. She relaxed, placed her emphasis on the inside of herself. Therefore, she did not suffer the after - effects of tension.

Evaluating a question involves not only keeping your eyes and ears open, but developing a plan for responding to questions, then carrying out that plan. You can not attempt to use plan "B" because plan "A" did not work. In order to win, you must make plan "A" work - and stop. If you continue or over explain your answer, you will cause your listeners, including judges, to feel that you are indecisive and inarticulate.


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