Julia writes in with the following question: TJ, how do you respond when someone in the audience asks you how old you are? How do you we write that question to make it an easier one. This refers to one of my strategies which I recommend during media interviews but also in public speaking.
Listen to a question And if it does not seem easy or positive, rewrite it to make it an easier and more positive question. This is not the same thing as dodging questions. Regardless of whether it is a media interview or speech, you do not want to seem flustered or bothered. At times, you get a question and think that it is very at attacking but the person might just be curious. This often happens when the viewer is young.
Different people have different sensitivities. At this particular moment in my life, I am 54 and not particularly sensitive about my age, so if someone were to ask me a question about my age, I would simply tell them: “I am 54. I am old enough to remember when media training was done with a big clunky video camera and I also did that in 1984. It was it hiring and cumbersome process and you had a good excuse to not rehearse on video. But 33 years later, no one has that excuse. You can practice with yourself.”
What I did there was that I answered the question but then I also connected it to my other messages which is trying to give people useful information when it comes to public speaking. If I am a 72 year old speaking to a bunch of 27 year olds, my listeners might be thinking about how they got stuck with this fossil. So in that situation, maybe I will not say the actual age upfront and instead go straight to my experiences with old media training techniques.
So instead of acting flustered or embarrassed, just rephrase the question in your head and bridge it to what you want to say which is relevant and positive.