How to Keep Control During a Q-and-A Session


How to Keep Control During a Q-and-A Session

By Lisa Garcia and Jenna Sarkissian

Often times our clients are involved in interviews with media or faced with open Q-and-A’s during public events. Even with the best preparation, talking points, and plans, a question can be presented that throws the interviewee off track.

A key way to keep control of the interview is to use the bridging technique — this will help you bridge the gap between the answer the questioner is seeking and the one you are prepared to give.

Mastery of the bridging technique will help you 1) move away from controversial, uncomfortable, or unflattering topics and back on to key messages; and 2) respond to each question with a prepared, strategic message.

To respond effectively, first acknowledge the question. Something like: “I appreciate your concern about _____ …” will do the trick. Then, use one of the following bridges to gain control of the message without sounding adversarial:

  • “What’s most important is…”
  • “The real issue here is…”
  • “That’s not my area of expertise, but I think your audience would be interested in knowing that…”   
  • “Let me just add that…”
  • “That reminds me…”
  • “Let me answer you by saying that…”
  • “That’s an important point because…”
  • “What that means is…”
  • “Another thing to remember is…”
  • “If you look at it closely, you’ll find…”

Using this tool, you’ll be an expert, in-control interviewee in no time.