Brief and Blandly Can Be Best
If you are asked a tough question or a question that does not really relate to any of your planned messages. My advice is answer it briefly, blandly in a somewhat straightforward boring way and then bridge to one of your message points and then the other.
So you cannot simply ignore it because it is a tough question. If you ignore it the reporters will think “ha-ha I got old TJ now! Now I know what he is trying to hide. Let me dig deeper.” So you cannot ignore the tough questions. And you cannot ignore questions simply because they do not relate to your messages.
The reporter can ask any question on any topic, any message he or she wants. The key is answer it briefly, answer it in a way that a fair-minded person, who heard the question, heard the answer would think “okay you answered it at some level.” But then bridge to your other message points. So this confuses a lot of people. I am not saying your answers need to be brief. I am saying the first part of your answer on this tough question or this question on stuff that you do not care to talk about is brief but you then stir your conversation to the messages you really want to talk about. That is the key.
How Can I Quickly Improve My Ability to Make Small Talk?
How can I quickly improve my ability to make small talk? For starters seek out every opportunity you can to make small talk with people. So you can go to chamber of commerce networking events, even though your business does not benefit from events like that. The stakes are going to be low but it will give you an opportunity to talk to people, look for parties’ events. Go to meetup.com and look for meetings in your area, could be about a hobby and just get used to asking people about themselves.
The people who are the best small talk experts are great at listening far more often than they are to speaking. So get comfortable with people simply get in front of people, more where you are talking. And that is the biggest thing. You look at the best athletes, the best musicians of the world. They tend to have spent tens of thousands of hours in their childhood building that skill. It is the opposed to people who spent a couple hundred hours on a skill who are just amateurs. You want to be better at small talk and talk more every opportunity you get.