Effective Management Perceived
A synonym for the verb “control” is “manage.” Therefore, the subliminal perception of a well-handled question is Effective Management. Of course, no one in your target audience is going to conclude that you are a good manager just because you fielded a tough question effectively. That’s a stretch. But the converse proves the point. If your response to a challenging question is defensive or contentious, you lose credibility—and with it the likelihood of attaining your objective in the interchange. If your response is prompt, assured, and to the point, you will be far more likely to emerge unscathed, if not fully victorious.
The causal relationship between behavior and perception was eloquently expressed by David Bellet, the former Chairman of Crown Advisors International, one of Wall Street’s most successful long-term investment firms. As an early backer of many successful companies, among them Hewlett-Packard, Sony, and Intel, Bellet was solicited to invest almost daily. In response, he often fired challenging questions at his petitioners.
“When I ask questions,” he said, “I don’t really have to have the full answer because I can’t know the subject as well as the presenter. What I look for is whether the presenter has thought about the question, been candid, thorough, and direct and how the presenter handles himself or herself under stress; if that person has the passion of ‘fire in the belly’ and can stand tall in the line of fire.”