Reframe and Regain Composure

Have you ever been asked a direct and difficult question, and wished the floor would just develop a mouth and gut, and just swallow you up?
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Well, this doesn’t have to happen anymore because I am going to teach you how to reframe a question.
I think the best way to describe what reframing means in communications is to give you an example:
Piers: Do you condemn what [Madonna] said about wanting to blow up The White House?
Sophie: I am for free speech and we’re not getting free speech as women


"What on earth has Sophie’s response got to do with Piers’ question?"


Well a lot! Read the exchange again. She didn’t really dodge the question. She answered it, just in the way she wanted to.
Reframing your thoughts or an issue is a term used by life coaches and psychologists and describes the process of shifting your focus from the negative to the positive (or vice versa!) so you are empowered to deal with a particular issue.
Reframing a question, when it comes to communications is to simply answer a question from a perspective of your choosing.Think to yourself
  1. What am I prepared to share?
  2. In what direction am I comfortable with this conversation going in?
Politicians and those in the hot seat do it all the time! How many times has the spokesperson of a failing company reframed when asked a difficult question by a reporter?
Your boss may ask you, “did you complete the report I asked you to last week?”
Instead of saying ‘no’,  you could respond, “last week, I met with three of our stakeholders,  completed a project and trained some of our interns”.
By responding in this way, you have  answered but have also shifted the focus of the conversation.
What are the benefits of reframing a question?
  1. It helps you to portray yourself, or a situation how you want people to see it
  2. It buys you thinking time, in case a question is re-asked
  3. It ruffles your interviewer’s feathers 🙂
  4. It steers the conversation in the direction you are more comfortable with
Reframing can seem a bit dishonest or sly, but in my opinion, it’s a clever linguistic tool to have in your kit.
In case, you are interested, this is the link to the Piers Morgan and Sophie Walker interview.

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Courtesy of ITV
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