We’ve all been there – whether it be at a job interview, a board meeting, or speaking directly with customers – sometimes you are hit with a question that, for whatever reason, you simply cannot answer.

Or at the very least answer competently and concisely, the way you wish all answers would emerge from your quivering lips.

Always knowing the right thing to say at the right time might very well be a natural talent for some lucky people, but for the rest of us, it’s something we must knuckle down and learn the hard way.

Thankfully, some of the experts are willing to share their secrets, including one man, Michael Dodd, whose book Great Answers to Tough Questions at Work is pulling many people out of the gaping maw of embarrassment caused by fumbling words at crucial times.

Published by Capstone, Great Answers is a tightly written volume on how to navigate tricky situations using tools presented by Dodd.

The author aims to sooth those who have been sizzled in the past by what he terms ‘blowtorch on the belly’ questioning – those scenarios where you experience the unblinking wrath of an authority figure, who refuses to go easy and turns the heat up after each question until your lack of knowledge (or apparent lack) is exposed.

Think Jeremy Paxman on steroids.

Dodd uses his experience working with international business leaders to refine their speaking skills to let the reader in on how to handle such terrifying situations, and allow for calm and confident answers to emerge naturally.

He presents examples from personalities including Virgin boss Richard Branson – showing how he fended off questions over a train tragedy that could have otherwise sunk him – and outlines ways to ensure the reader can craft the correct message to underpin every possible answer.

You will learn how to adapt the perfect answer for a range of different personality types you might face at a big interview, and sales people will rejoice at Dodd’s guide to handling challenging price negotiations – every facet of difficult questioning is covered here.

Among the previously mentioned tools presented in the book are Dodd’s two ‘Golden Formulae’, that help you answer – in detail – any possible question while keeping things simple and positive.

They will also help you recover fast when things start to go wrong and you are faced with those ‘life-or-death’ questions – such as in the aftermath of a financial blunder – that could literally mean your very employment hangs on the answer you give.

Thankfully, Dodd’s manuscript of communication magic is far from a dry read, and is written with a charm sadly lacking in a lot of the work of his contemporaries.

His work is peppered with pleasing anecdotes that help the reader visualise and understand situations they may face in a grilling, and he serves up his snippets of message crafting goodness in easy-to-digest morsels that can be effortlessly remembered.

One of the few downsides to reading this book is that it may dredge up memories of past quizzing that you would rather remained forgotten, but at least you will learn how you should have handled them, and will now be equipped to tackle such scenarios head-on in future.

From advising on just the right amount of emotion to offer in an answer, to teaching the power of stories in responses, Dodd’s work is a revelation that will literally have you eager to put your newfound skills into practise.

You’ll feel like a battle commander confidently leading troops to certain victory having just digested Sun Tzu’s The Art of War!

In fact, reading this book before a tough interview almost seems unfair, due to the immense advantage it will provide; it’s quite simply performance-enhancing.

Don’t just take CXM’s word for it though – since its release last year, Great Answers has garnered rave reviews and even been shortlisted for the CMI Management Book of the Year Award.

High praise has also been offered by the likes of international business mentor and speaker Ian Berry, who said of Great Answers: “This is the ultimate handbook for the modern leader for whom inspiring communication, communication, and story-telling skills are must-haves.”

So, should you buy this book? This is one question I don’t need Dodd’s help to answer…YES!

Great Answers to Tough Questions at Work is available to buy now at Amazon in both paperback and e-book editions.

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