How to Answer Nonsense
Pageant Interview Questions
So you’re clipping along in your interview answering questions about your accomplishments, goals, personal platform, and current events. Everything’s going just fine. And then someone asks, “If you could be a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?”
Your expression goes blank. You think to yourself, “That’s a stupid question.” You internally roll your eyes – except that you didn’t really do it internally, it was obvious to the judges. Then, you struggle to get out an answer that makes any sense.
Why can you answer complicated questions about world news and then bomb on something so simple? Because the question doesn’t seem intelligent or related to the duties and responsibilities of the titleholder. It seems like a nonsense question to you.
But judges believe that your answers to these types of questions help them learn about your personality, values, or life philosophy. Of course, it would be much easier if they just asked a direct question, wouldn’t it? But, you and I both know that there’s always one or two judges who like to test you.
The good news is that it’s not as hard to pass that test as you think it is. Just follow this simple process for How to Answer Nonsense Pagent Interview Questions and you’ll sail through the test every time.
Step 1. Control Your Body Language
The first thing you probably do when you hear a nonsense question is to decide that it’s a stupid, irrelevant question. Your face has an annoyed expression for a split second and you look as though you think the judge might be a complete idiot. No bueno.
The secret to maintaining positive body language in this situation is to practice these types of questions on your own and watch your reaction in a mirror. You’ve got to practice controlling your reaction. Don’t fidget, don’t shift your weight, and make absolutely sure you’re not even slightly rolling your eyes. Look the judge directly in the eyes, smile, and begin your answer.
2. Visualize the Subject of the Question
Now that your body language is under control, you move on to visualize the subject of the question. This is easy. Let’s look at how you’d do that for this question:
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be and why?
Obviously, the subject of this question is “a tree.” So, to answer it you have to visualize and think about a tree or trees. It doesn’t matter what kind of tree, any tree that you’re familiar with will do just fine.
3. Describe or Tell A Story About the Subject
Now, that’s you’ve got a picture of the subject in your head you’re going to decide the format of your answer. You’re either going to Describe or Tell a Story about the subject.
Let’s pretend for our tree question you’ve decided to go with a Describe answer. You could start with:
I’d like to be an oak tree that stands tall, with strong branches, and lots of dark green leaves.
All you did here was describe a tree, and it already sounds impressive.
Then you Describe the attributes of a tree:
Because an oak tree is strong, able to get through difficulties and storms, and it provides shelter for birds and other animals.
The attributes are what the judges are looking for in this answer. Attributes tell the judges about what you think is important. In this answer, you sound like you strive to do your best (stand tall), never give up (gets through storms), and are friendly and welcoming (provides shelter.)
Now, let’s try a Tell a Story answer for our tree question. This is just what it sounds like; you’re going to tell a story about the subject.
You could say:
I’d like to be an apple tree because when I was younger, I enjoyed visiting my grandparents’ farm. We would spend the day fishing and swimming and then on the walk home we’d snack on apples we picked along the lane. So, I’d love to be an apple tree because it reminds me of trips to see my grandparents.
In this answer, the story tells the judges that you love spending time with your family.
So, next time you’re asked what sounds like a nonsense question, remember the judge will use your answer to help determine your interview score. Even if you think it’s a dumb question, you’ve still got to nail your answer. This is your chance to separate yourself from all the contestants who can’t handle a nonsense question.
A nonsense question that’s answered with ease will get a top interview score every time!