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In the Line of Fire: An Interactive Guide to Handling Tough Questions

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In the Line of Fire: An Interactive Guide to Handling Tough Questions + The Power Presenter: Technique, Style, and Strategy from America's Top Speaking Coach
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Product Details

  • Directors: Jerry Weissman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Video Arts
  • DVD Release Date: August 5, 2005
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A13B96
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #329,566 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews


Featuring clips of major political debates, press conferences and media interviews...including the 2004 Presidential debates with President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry.

Sooner or later, every human being on the face of this planet will be confronted with tough questions.

How will you handle them?

In the Line of Fire: An Interactive Guide to Handling Tough Questions, is a companion to the book, In the Line of Fire: How to Handle Tough Questions ... When it Counts, published by Pearson Prentice Hall. This DVD contains illustrative video clips of tough Q&A sessions in the public arena and the lessons you can learn from them.

We've programmed the DVD so that you can watch it straight through or visit ... and revisit... the lessons chapter-by-chapter. To enhance the lessons, we'll be interactive: at several points in the DVD, we'll ask you a question, then pause and ask you to press the pause button on your DVD player or computer and think about the question. You'll get the answer when you press play again.

To focus on the video examples, we've condensed some of the lessons, but you can find all of them in the book, and in greater detail. For best results use the book and the DVD together, but either one will help you stand tall in the line of fire.

Challenging Questions

Why do people in business ask challenging questions? Because they are mean-spirited? Perhaps. Because they want to test your mettle? Perhaps. More likely it is because when you are presenting your case, which is just the case in almost every decisive communication in business...as well as in all walks of life...you are asking your opposite party or parties, your target audience, to change. Most human beings are resistant to change, and so they kick the tires. You are the tires.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By David E. Rogers on August 21, 2005
There are two things you should know before reading this review:

(1) I spent ten years producing custom interactive instructional CD-ROMs for Fortune 500 companies.

(2) I loved Jerry Weissman's book of the same name (see my review on its Amazon listing page.)

With that out of the way, this DVD is a fine addendum to "In The Line of Fire" (the book), showcasing many of the examples showcased within it. Indeed, this is by far the video's key strength. The step-by-step analyses of famous political debates and press conferences are not only fascinating but downright entertaining--thus undergirding Weissman's lessons and making them more memorable.

A second strength is Weissman himself. His relaxed presence on camera, outstanding delivery and enthusiasm are engaging and captivating. And the production values are excellent.

Yet the DVD falls short in several ways. First, the outstanding content of the book is given short shrift, and each DVD chapter is peppered with referrals to the book for more information. This is fine if you own the book, but if not I imagine it would be maddening.

Second, the interactivity in this "interactive guide" consists only of pausing your DVD from time to time to answer questions. This is something that could have been done on VHS and thus fails to take advantage of the power of the DVD format. So much more could have been done--tough question simulations, practice exercises with conditional branching that allow viewers to see the results of chosen responses, more real-life examples for viewers to analyze, and tutorials on preparing for challenging meetings.

Third, I was frustrated by the exclusion of some potentially powerful video examples.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Manny Hernandez HALL OF FAME on September 13, 2005
I recently finished reading the companion book for this DVD. I must say they truly complement each other. Since the topic they deal with is that of handling tough questions, it is VERY important to be able to see the masters at it, along with those who make mistakes, in action. This is where this DVD does an incredible job: it presents the viewer with the footage for all the examples presented in the book, as they took place and with Mr. Weissman interjecting as the different speakers do their thing, pointing out the details and things you should be on the lookout for.

Is the DVD interactive? It's fairly linear, except for the moments you are asked to stop and consider what is about to happen (what response you think the speaker gave). So I guess you could say it is interactive to a certain extent. However, the real value of the DVD lies in the footage, more than anything else. It's not a substitute to the book, which it obviously quotes and refers to. Don't think this is like the audiovisual equivalent to the book, and try to view the DVD to skip the reading: if you do this, you will miss much. The two complement each other wonderfully. My recommendation is: get both and enjoy their combined power.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 24, 2005
Jerry Weissman shows why he's a master presenter: this short DVD held my interest through every lesson. Weissman uses clips from media shows and press conferences to make his point: evasive answers won't work. Take control. Use techniques like Topspin, Plan B and WIFFY.

Weissman himself is a great role model: he knows how to hold an audience with no props or drama, just his very ordinary face wearing a suit, sharing massive amouonts of information.

As someone who's done quite a bit of speaking, I feel I can always learn -- and his answers are right on. I will recommend this DVD to my own clients and ezine list.

Three quibbles keep me from suggesting a full 5-star rating. First, in a stand-alone DVD, Weissman keeps promoting his book. Folks who pay full price should never feel they're hearing a commercial, however mild.

(Anyway, most viewers will have enough to learn even if they never buy the book.)

Second, some points could be made more dramatically. For some chapters, we just hear Weissman; others include film clips. Weissman could have asked some friends or clients to role-play examples.

Finally, as Weissman points out, most of us can't follow in the footsteps of the role model he presents, General Schwartzkopf. So why are all his examples drawn from politics? And why choose two former generals as great examples? Audiences bring unique expectations when they realize they're hearing fromm a 4-star general.

I would have liked to see clips (or at least role-plays) of corporate speakers: managers leading a meeting, interviewees answering tough questions, sales reps handling objections.

But Line of Fire is still one of the best training DVD's I've seen and I have no qualms about recommending it to anyone who wants to develop sharper communication skills, whether the flame comes from a blazing bonfire or a cigarette lighter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ed Uyeshima HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 5, 2005
When it comes to the art of the response and the nuances of body language, author Jerry Weissman knows what he's talking about. Having just read his briskly informative book of the same name, I can tell you that the DVD version is an even more compelling reason to listen to his invaluable tenets on public speaking. Fortunately, as this is mostly a talking-head presentation with video excerpts, Weissman himself is a fine presenter, though it would have been interesting to include actual role playing to see how he would field difficult questions.

Whereas the book is more a transcript of legendary confrontation moments, mostly from televised debates, the DVD includes many of the actual excerpts discussed in the book. This allows the author to analyze the defining moments with greater clarity, even going as far as using slow motion and freeze framing to get his points across. This is well illustrated by the question raised by a woman at one of the 1992 Presidential debates about how the national recession affected each candidate personally. Weissman vividly shows how the senior Bush's fumbling response irreparably damaged his campaign, how Perot's curt reply did nothing for his and how Clinton's masterful empathy seized a defining moment and thereafter boosted his rating dramatically.

Even more effective is the way Weissman breaks down Colin Powell's mastery of "key words" in fielding questions from foreign journalists on American imperialism at the start of the Iraqi War. Watch as Powell dexterously dodges incriminating questions by using Roman columns introduced by the questioners as buffers and bringing the inquiries back to the comfort zone of his response.
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