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Here are tips on what to do when you're in the hot seat - hopefully not like TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zi (right). Images: Unsplash and YouTube

What To Take Note Of Before Being Grilled By A Panel

If you’ve never been in the hot seat, come, I clap for you. Being grilled by a panel (whether it’s for a job interview or an investigation) can be a daunting experience, especially if you are not prepared for it.

On 23 March, TikTok CEO Chew Shou Zi testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Capitol Hill. For over five hours in a high-stakes hearing about the app, US lawmakers grilled the 40-year-old Singaporean on China, drugs and teen mental health.

Hopefully, you and I never find ourselves in such a stressful predicament. Nevertheless, here are several ways you can stay calm (and succeed!) when you’re about to face a “firing squad”:

Prepare thoroughly

Make sure you know everything or as much as there is to know about the topic you will be grilled on. This will give you confidence and make it easier to answer questions.

Stay composed

Your heart might be beating like crazy and your thoughts might be racing, but take deep breaths and focus on your breathing to stay calm. Avoid fidgeting or shaking your legs, as this can indicate nervousness.

Listen carefully

Listen attentively to the panel’s questions and ask for clarification if necessary. This shows that you are engaged and willing to answer their questions thoroughly.

Be honest

If you don't know the answer to a question, it's better to admit it than to try and bluff your way through it. The panel will respect your honesty.

Take your time

Don't rush to answer the questions. Take a moment to gather your thoughts and think about your response before you answer.

Stay positive

Whether the panel wants you to succeed or not, try to stay positive and focus on your strengths. There may or may not be personal attacks, but don’t take things personally – try to remain objective and focus on the content of the questions.

Keep it concise

Be concise in your answers and avoid rambling. This will make it easier for the panel to follow your thought process.

Use examples

Use examples to illustrate your points and demonstrate your knowledge. This can help to make your answers more engaging and memorable.

Thank the panel

After the grilling, thank the panel for their time and for the opportunity to answer their questions. This shows professionalism and leaves a positive impression.

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