One of the things my 1-to-1 and corporate clients fear most about public speaking is being asked a question they don’t know the answer to.

This might lead to being embarrassed in front of the team, losing potential clients, and goodness knows what else. So it’s a perfectly rational fear.

No-one wants to get caught like a deer in the headlights.

Now, we can never 100% predict which questions the audience will ask, but we usually have a pretty good idea. So the first thing I ask clients to do is PREPARE FULLY. Anticipate those questions and be ready for the most obvious ones.

Another way to prepare is to practice impromptu speaking. That is, speaking off the cuff with no preparation.

Just give yourself 2-5 minutes each day. Choose a question at random from one of the many lists online, and answer it, out loud.

At first you may well cringe at your answers. Maybe the most corny, or obvious words will trip out of your mouth. Or maybe you’ll be at a complete loss for words.

But with regular practice you will begin to amaze yourself with a well-structured, interesting answer.

One way you can structure that answer is using the PREP framework.

P = point

R = reason

E = example

P = point

Check out an explanation and more detailed examples here:

And if you work at it, it will build confidence and make you a better speaker. Honest!

Another helpful source is my new book Big Talk, Small Talk (and Everything in Between). It’s filled with strategies and tools for effective communication you can apply in everyday interactions with friends, family, work colleagues, acquaintances, and even strangers! Find out more here

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