Get to the Point … Don’t Ramble When You Answer Pageant Questions
During your pageant interviews, get to the point. Rambling is a sure sign that a contestant hasn’t prepared adequately. When a girl hasn’t mentally digested an issue, her thoughts are disorganized and she has difficulty putting her views into words. She bluffs, hoping her rambling sentences add up to a solid answer. Instead, she’s hanging herself on a verbal noose.
Rambling reveals a girl’s inability to think clearly and saps energy from her interview by slowing the rate of questioning. The surest sign of a poor interview is how it drags.
By comparison, a top pageant contender immediately stands out because of her ability to state her opinion concisely and move on to the next question. The result is a breezy, highly energized interview. The most successful interviews in national competition are so wonderfully fast-paced and energetic that we judges find ourselves stumbling over each other to squeeze in another question.
“Learn to speak precisely,” “Get to the point of what you want to say and shut up. You’re talking only seven minutes. You don’t have time to ramble on. Learn to think: ‘One two … three … and shut up. One … two … three and shut up.” — former Miss America Cheryl Prewitt Salem
Consider this fine straight-to-the-point answer given by a national semi-finalist and law school student when national judges asked her: “Do you think the United States should assassinate Saddam Hussein?”
“No, I don’t believe the United States government should violate international law to assassinate leaders of other nations.”
Another contestant with an earthier, shoot-from-the-lip style simply quipped, “Of course!”
Compact answers require clear thinking. Train yourself to analyze a question quickly, pick out the main point, and state your opinion clearly and concisely.
Don’t Stall Before you Answer…
One interview habit that prevents a young lady from getting to the point effectively is repeating the judge’s question. Although entrants are sometimes advised to do so to gain time to think, most judges are irritated by the practice.
Veteran judge Kenn Berry admits that contestants who repeat his questions “drive me up a wall.” He offers an example:
“If I ask her, ‘Do you think women are better equipped to handle loneliness than men?,’ she’ll go, ‘Do youuuu think women are better eeequippped to handle loneliness thaaaan men?’ I know she is stalling for time and that rubs me the wrong way. I don’t want the girl to repeat the question to me. I want her to answer it.”
Instead of wasting time and annoying judges, use a brief pause instead.
Pausing to think before speaking is far more effective than repeating the question to buy time. It allows a moment to get the general idea of what you want to say before answering. That prevents point-losing rambling and helps prevent blunders.
To make your interview answers all they can be, pause to think before you speak, and get right to the point.
One … two … three … and shut up.