How often have you sat in meetings, listening to people answering questions, wondering how they could deliver such brilliant answers with total confidence and no preparation?
This is something that I used to do when attending meetings during my corporate days.
The technique you will discover today is going to help you to now answer questions confidently, even when you are unprepared or expectedly put on the spot.
This is such an important skill to learn for when you are in job interviews, meetings, anywhere people may ask you a question or for your opinion that requires you to answer with confidence. It is the reason we practise this skill every week during our public speaking training sessions.
The P.R.E.P Structure
This is a simple and effective structure you can use to organise your thoughts. P.R.E.P stands for: -
When you first hear a question, you may have many ideas racing through your head, or perhaps nothing comes to mind at all.
After you have taken a deep breath and given yourself a couple of seconds of thinking time, the first thing to do is to decide on your key point.. quickly!
You want to use it to make an impact by making a specific point.
For example, if someone asks ‘Where is your favourite holiday destination?'
If you are nervous, you are likely to say to yourself
‘Hmm, let me think about it, was it my trip to Spain, Nah, I probably had a better time in Brazil, or even France. Ah.. I don’t know...”
You will want to avoid verbalising these thoughts as you keep changing your favourite destination.
Speak with confidence as you decisively pick one point. It doesn’t matter which destination you choose. Make a decision! Then clearly and slowly state your main point!
“My favourite destination is Spain!”.
Now you have a clear direction for your speech. Everything you say now will have a single purpose, to back up this main point.
After stating your point, let’s move on to the second part of the P.R.E.P structure.
This is where you will share some reasons on why Spain is your favourite holiday destination. It may be the food, people, vibe of the city, or all of them.
“The reason Spain is my favourite destination is the food and the people.”
Now that you have given your reason, it is time to expand this by sharing a few examples.
Rather than presenting a list such as “the food is amazing, the people are friendly, the weather is sunny; the beaches are beautiful...” you can use a technique called Zooming In.
Choose a single moment of your holiday experience, then take your audience into that moment by describing all the details.
Share the when, who, where, what, and how. Describe all the sensory details that stimulate the 5 human senses of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
“It was my first meal after I arrived in warm, humid Barcelona with two of my friends. The sun was setting, and my stomach was growling out of hunger. We’re in a cosy restaurant outside of the main square. As the waiter placed a massive plate of paella on our table, my eyes almost popped out of my head. The bright, colourful plate was bursting with clams, mussels and shrimp. Ah.. the fresh smell of the seafood. It was like heaven, that’s the moment I fell in love with authentic Spanish food...”
Sharing your experience like this will be far more effective and interesting than just saying..
“The Paella I had there was great...”.
Additionally, you can even share examples of your experiences with the friendly locals.
The final P on P.R.E.P is Point
Conclude your answer by repeating and recapping your key point
“To Wrap up, Spain is my favourite destination because of the delicious food, friendly people and warm weather. A place you should definitely visit if you’re yet to do so!”
There you have it. The PREP structure. Point, Reason, Example, Point
With the structure, you will create clear, concise answers for every question you are asked in every situation, allowing you to speak with confidence.