“Going blank” is when you completely forget about what you were talking about mid-sentence. Even though it happens to the best of us, it can leave us feeling embarrassed and make us feel even more nervous to speak up the next time. Losing your train of thought most often occurs when we are nervous and dive into an answer without first pausing to think about 1) our point and 2) the framework we are going to use to answer the question. To minimize the risk of “going blank” here is a really simple framework you can use the next time you find yourself fielding impromptu questions.
The PREP Framework
P = Point – State your main point that you want to people to walk away with. Stick to a single point to keep it simple.
R = Reason – Provide a reason outlining why you think that point is true/valid.
E = Example – Highlight an example that supports your main point to add credibility to your statement.
P = Point – Conclude by reiterating your point so your audience has complete clarity about your position.
Let’s put PREP into practice!
Question: Is public speaking a valuable skill to have in the workplace? Point: Yes, I believe that public speaking is a valuable skill to have in the workplace. Reason: My reason for that, is because most jobs require you to be able to clearly and competently communicate with a group of people. Example: For example, as a Manager you might be asked to present your quarterly report to the Board of Directors. As a software developer, you might be asked to demo a new feature to the entire company. As an entrepreneur, you might need to pitch your business to an investor or a bank.
Point: Therefore, I believe that public speaking is a valuable skill to have in the workplace.
So before you walk into your next meeting, jump on your next conference call or deliver your next presentation, try using this framework as your Q&A roadmap – and you’ll never lose your way.