April 23, 2008

One-minute coaching session

You're not supposed to coach, counsel or "therapize" your mate. However, I couldn't help myself yesterday when my husband told me that he hates it when people ask him where he went to college.

To me this was a typical public speaking dilemma, although more likely to come up in a networking or social setting. Someone asks you a question that is awkward or uncomfortable. You dread that question coming up because you dread having to answer.

I used to hate it when people asked if I had kids, because I felt I had to explain myself in some way. Now I just say, "Nope, but we have three bratty cats!" Case closed.

My husband is uncomfortable with the college question because he didn't get a four-year degree. He attended community college, then went into the specialty foods industry, where he's worked for over 20 years now, becoming a respected expert in his industry. He is also a consultant and getting ready to open a tea shop.

My solution to this problem? Be prepared. If you know people are going to ask you a question, and you dread giving an answer that makes you uncomfortable, this is the time to come up with an answer you're comfortable with! Before they ask you the question.

I suggested he say something similar to what I wrote above. It hadn't occurred to him that, just by planning in advance what to say to this question, he would be free from all of that anxiety.

One-minute coaching. My favorite kind!

What kind of question makes you uncomfortable?

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4 comments. Please add yours! :

Anonymous said...

My most dreaded question: "So when are you two getting married?"
I still don't have a very quick answer to this one... I usually end up going on this tirade about divorce rates, discrimination against same-gender couples, government's involvement in private spheres, etc. etc.
I really should come up with something that's quick, catchy, and won't make the person who asked want to run away!

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Yeah, I know not to ask you that any more. :-)

Run it by me when you get your SHORT spiel figured out.

Anonymous said...

I always dreaded when my husband was deployed and people would ask, "Aren't you worried?"

My answer became, "It isn't as dangerous in (insert deployment zone) as it is to ride your bikes on the streets of (insert large city)".

People then begin to understand the risk factor involved.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

That must have been a drag, Jacki. These tend to be really personal questions, don't they? But even the professional ones can be awkward.

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