Give Great Answers to Tough Questions
The higher you climb in business, the tougher the questions. Think of the questions the bosses of Facebook, the directors of Carillion and those running Cambridge Analytica have had to face. The questions for the leaders of less prominent companies than these may be less visible to the public, but when the going gets rough they can be just as challenging.
This workshop helps business leaders deal effectively with the challenging questions that swirl around them in good times, bad times and in times of big change.
As a broadcast journalist, Michael Dodd was trained to ask what are known as “blowtorch-on-the-belly” questions in the world of Australian business and politics and the world of foreign correspondents. He now focuses on helping business people answer these questions – whether they are from clients, prospective customers, staff members or the media.
Michael is the author of “Great Answers To Tough Questions At Work” published by Wiley and shortlisted for the “Management Book Of The Year” by the Chartered Management Institute.
Michael’s research among business leaders’ groups shows the toughest questions for chief executives, managing directors and other business leaders most commonly come from their customers, their prospects and their own teams. In addition, they need to be ready for nightmare questions from bank managers, officials, shareholders, suppliers, company chairmen and journalists.
Give Great Answers To Tough Questions equips business leaders to get off the back foot and onto the front foot. It enables them to enhance the content, structure and delivery style of their answers – and boost their confidence and effectiveness under pressure along the way.
Key Points :
- Examine answers to questions which are troubling members
- Discover the “Golden Formulae” underpinning great answers to tough questions
- Improve the members’ answers to their toughest questions which are elicited through pre-session questionnaires.
- Practice tough conversations, record them, play them back and analyse what’s required to improve the content, structure and delivery style of the answers.
- Plan the best possible answers for each members’ toughest current questions or possible future situation.
Objectives of the Session:
This workshop will equip participants with tools and techniques enabling them to:
- Formulate the right key messages before tough conversations that are valuable for both their questioners and their company
- Put into practice the “Golden Formulae” for structuring great answers
- Illustrate answers with powerful stories, figures and examples
- Deliver impressive answers while looking right, sounding right and feeling right.
- Go into tough conversations with increased confidence
- Remain composed and effective during hostile, unfair and tricky questioning.
This learning-by-doing session starts with a look at the tough questions participants have faced and are expecting to face in the future. These questions will have been elicited in pre-session questionnaires. Participants discuss how they’ve fared when dealing with tough questions in the past. This ensures the workshop is tailored to the precise needs of each specific group and pitched at the appropriate level. The participants then give their normal answers to their own toughest questions. These can be recorded, played back and analysed. Participants get to see and hear themselves as others see and hear them, and by doing so discover what to do to enhance the way they come across. Their answers are scored by colleagues.
After the learning and analysis, participants then have a second shot at answering their question. This is also scored by their colleagues. The differences between their first and second answers are dissected. Scores are revealed showing how far they’ve improved during the workshop. There’s a prize for the biggest improver. Learning points are identified and reinforced.
Value and Takeaway Tools:
- Knowing what to say when challenged by their toughest questions – and how to apply the techniques to their other difficult professional conversations
- Understanding the importance of planning, preparing and practising for vital conversations where nightmare questions can often be anticipated
- Enhanced ability to get off the defensive and be as positive as circumstances allow when questioned
- Knowing how to apply the golden formulae for answering tough questions
- Arming themselves with what to say when they don’t know the answers
- Upgraded content, structure and delivery style of answers
- Greater confidence when facing up to future tough business questions.
Actions members are expected to make when applying the takeaway tools to the real world:
- Do more effective planning for situations where they know tough questions are likely or possible
- Preparing great answers in advance to expected questions
- Having messages about tough situations worked out in advance so they can be incorporated into answers to questions that are unexpected
- Practising prepared answers in advance so members look right, sound right and feel right when in critical situations like board meetings, client negotiations, safety inspections, public inquiries, employment tribunals and media conferences