Keep it Short (When Someone is Asking You Questions)

In the last few months I have been an interviewer and an interviewee, I have sat on selection panels for jobs, moderated conference plenary panels, guided a “Fireside Chat” and been asked questions myself by reporters. In every case, the best thing you can do for yourself when you are answering questions, is KEEP IT SHORT.

The recruitment panel has a long list of questions to ask, always longer than the time available, but they really really want to know the answers. If you go on and on and on they will not get the data they need in order to consider your candidacy most effectively. Keep it short and content rich, and let them ask further probing questions if they want more.

That TV, or radio interviewer, journalist or panel moderator also has a list of questions, and like the recruiter they want to ask them all. The question sequence has been designed to get somewhere, to tell a story or make some essential points in a way that aims to generate a dialogue that is also interesting to listeners than a straight Q&A. If you get stuck with long responses on the first two questions, that moderator or journalist is not going to get where they want to go, the story won’t be unfold and be told, the essential points potentially missed, and again you will not have gotten the best opportunity to share what you think.

Note to self: I guess the same goes for blog posts, let me stop here, enough said!

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