Libraries and the Internet Toolkit
Handling Tough Questions
The best way to deal with tough questions from library users, board members, the mayor or a reporter is to be prepared. The following are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Listen-don't judge.
- Anticipate questions you might be asked and practice answering them.
- Acknowledge: "You obviously have strong feelings. I respect your views. Let me give you another perspective."
- Reframe the question-Why do you think students should be allowed to view pornography on the Internet? "You're asking me about our Internet policy . . . ."
- Be honest. Tell the truth as you know it. "My experience with the Internet is . . . ."
- Remember, it's not just what you say but how you say it. Speak simply, sincerely and with conviction.
- Less is more. Keep your answers short and to the point.
- Stick to your key message. Deliver it at least three times.
- Avoid use of negative/inflammatory words such as "pornography."
- Don't fudge. If you don't know the answer, say so.
- Never say "No comment." A simple "I'm sorry I can't answer that" is preferable.