Surprise questions in the interview – How to react confidently!

A direct confrontation on a topic that is rarely discussed in public often creates an unpleasant moment of surprise for many interviewees. How can you react professionally and skilfully if you are asked surprise questions in the interview or even attacked?

Option 1 OVERALL
You can’t think of a suitable answer? Then skip the attack and continue talking to what is important to you about the topic. If necessary, comment on the attack only briefly with a light smile, unless it is completely inappropriate. This often does not seem very confident, but it can be an emergency solution. We recommend that you train such situations specifically.

Option 2 REJECT
You feel inappropriately attacked and insulted, so you reject the attack. This may be appropriate, as in this example:
Lena Meyer-Landruth was confronted by Markus Lanz, that he was worried about her. After an unbelieving “Yes?” from Lena Meyer-Landruth Lanz concretizes: “You were very thin, you looked stressed there … simply fragile. Then the singer countered: “That’s rubbish, Markus!” She then explained that it bothers her when headlines so easily affect her perception: “I sometimes have the feeling that if just enough people say you’re too thin, then you are too thin.
Through this direct rejection, Lena Meyer-Landruth has shown that she does not want to leave this picture standing like this under any circumstances. But this method can also make you seem less confident if you do not appear determined, but rather slightly contrite, like Mrs. Göring-Eckardt here:
Example: German FDP party leader Christian Lindner teased the Green party leader in Maybrit Illner’s speech: “If you stop telling the untruth about the FDP, I will stop often telling the truth about the Greens. Mrs. Goering-Eckardt reacted like this: “Very funny, now you’re a bit too arrogant.”
Mrs. Göring-Eckhardt could have taken the side cut in a sporty way, but she immediately rejected it and seemed a bit petty. So Christian Lindner had a laugh on his side, even though he was not quite fair.

Possibility 3 TURN
Teasing or provocations can be so general that you can simply turn them around and play the ball back.
Example: Lindner: “If you stop telling the untruth about the FDP, I’ll stop telling the truth about the Greens often.”
Mrs. Goering-Eckardt could have said, “I could offer you the same thing.”

When countering, the most important thing is not to appear arrogant: The opponent doesn’t have to be “defeated”, more important is how you come across in the situation. If you take a sporty approach to the situation, you are more likely to receive a casual answer than if you feel personally offended. It is a matter of practice to develop this attitude.
Example: Frank Plasberg and Hans-Werner Sinn in Plasberg’s show “Hart aber Fair”: In a quick round of answers, where the question was asked with which of the other talk show guests you would most like to spend a day doing community service, the former head of the IFO Institute answered: “I would probably take you, because I would take the one in the round who has the highest income! Plasberg laughs for a moment, then jokingly counters: “An unproven assertion that you won’t find in the fact check tomorrow.
Plasberg comes across easily with his replica and does not annoy anybody. That seems more likeable than an overly ambitious counterattack. We would be happy to show you how you can train quick-witted answers for media situations in the DIKT training and coaching sessions. If you master the art of interview rhetoric, you will appear more confident and win over viewers.

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