From time to time we all find ourselves in situations where we have to express ourselves and our ideas to others. The way to make these engagements more successful is to transform them from an interrogation into a conversation, according to Holly Murchison, a public speaking coach, in a recent post at Mashable. Holly offers five tips from the world of public speaking for job hunters, but I thought that the spirit of these tips was relevant to nearly any type interview:
- Know Yourself. A common ice breaker question is “Tell me about yourself” or variations on that theme. In any interview, you want to not simply tell the other party a stream of consciousness about your life. Rather, think about why you are there and relate who you are back to the point of the interview. If that is a job interview talk about the part of you that is relevant to the position posting. If you are selling, how you got involved with your product. By opening up this way, you give people a reason to connect with you while also staying on topic.
- Bridge the Gap Between Confidence and Enthusiasm (Then Marry the Two). You need to be both, but with balance. If you are missing one or another, people will wonder if you are right for the opportunity. Before the meeting, list for yourself the reasons you are both confident you can deliver and why you are enthusiastic to do so.
- Use Your LinkedIn Profile to Practice. OK, this one is the most job-interview directly related point, but the spirit of the point is valuable. Holly wants you to think about your experience more like someone writes a LinkedIn expression of their jobs, not the bullet point approach most people use for resumes. More broadly, you might use lists and bullet points to think and written communication, but human conversation is held in a real language (usually English here in the U.S.) where people use complete sentences and grammar. If you talk like your resume or how you text, you will not impress others with your communication style.
- Know When to Wrap Up. Don’t overstay your welcome. People are busy, respect their time. If you don’t respect it when you don’t know them very well, are you going to be even worse when you are even more familiar?
- Be a Team Player. Anything challenging and worthwhile requires a team to accomplish. If you are interviewing for a job, it is likely to be on some sort of team. If you are selling, you will likely have a team helping with fulfillment. Remember to be inclusive when you talk. If you are job hunting, people will want to know you are a team player. Prospective customers want to know you are with them even after the sale.
5 Public Speaking Tips That’ll Prepare You for Any Interview by Holly Murchison at Mashable.com