Academy Award winner Sean Penn is admired in some circles and loathed in others. We’re not here to pass judgment on his politics. However, we were very impressed with his ability to deliver a crucial message after being asked a question he wasn’t prepared to answer.

Penn used a bridging technique that we teach in our seminars during an interview with CNN’s Michael Smerconish. The actor was asked a question about the situation in Afghanistan. He didn’t answer the question but didn’t ignore it either. Instead, as you will see in the clip below, Penn briefly addressed the question and bridged to a message he was prepared to deliver.

Did Penn know the question was coming? It really doesn’t matter. Whether he planned to avoid a direct answer or just instinctively felt it was inappropriate to try, he perfectly bridged to his message of concern for American troops and contractors. Penn used a great communications tool and so can you, with or without a script.