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Here's this week's Marketing
Handling Hostile Questions
Unfortunately, you're sure to face confrontational, angry or
brutally skeptical questioners sometime, and the advice on
this in Jerry Weissman's book, In the Line of Fire, is the
best I've seen anywhere.
Weissman recommends the following three steps, whether
you're facing investors, customers, the public or a boss:
1)Paraphrase the meat of the question, minus the rancor.
It's often quite challenging to identify the real theme of
a question. Weissman provides great examples where
politicians failed or succeeded in doing so during high-stakes debates.
Without this step, you run the risk of seeming defensive,
combative or evasive. The paraphrase shows you listened and
it defuses the questioner's negative energy.
2)Answer the question. Include relevant supporting
3)Conclude with a strong statement that expresses the
benefit of viewing things your way.
The more rambling or emotional a hostile question is, the
more likely you are to be off-base in your paraphrase.
Whenever possible, then, switch from email to a more
interactive medium like the telephone, where you have a
greater chance to address what's really on the other
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