I once had to explain why we were closing an off-campus site

The crowd, a civics group of some sort, wasn't exactly hostile. But they weren't about to pay for my lunch, either. John Baldoni, writing in BNET, has some tips when you are out front of a difficult audience.

1. Keep prepared remarks brief and on point.

2. Argue the case, not personalities. Focus on facts not the person asking you questions. The person asking questions may not be likable but treat them with respect.

3. Act professional as well as patient. Pay attention to what others say, even when you disagree, maintain your composure.

4. Never, ever take the bait. Elected officials will look for ways to trip you up. Do not give it to them. Defend yourself and your company, but never seem defensive.

5. Radiate confidence. Act like you have been doing this for a while. Appear relaxed and in control of your emotions. It may even be appropriate to smile, especially when making small talk.


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