by: Ellen Egan
I was conducting some interviews recently and I was struck by how important public speaking skills are in the interview process. After all, public speaking is, at its heart, one person speaking to one or many. An interview may be one of the most important public speaking engagements that you have. The fundamentals of good public speaking are also at the centre of a good interview.
1. Preparation. Anyone who has conducted an interview will tell you that it is obvious who as prepared for the interview and who has not. We can easily guess who makes a better impression. Before the interview be sure to learn as much as you can about your potential employer. Google is a great tool for this. Find out about the company philosophy and mission. Find out as much as you can about the future direction of the company. Learn as much as you can about the department you will be working with and the particular job you are interviewing for.
2. Audience analysis. I have gone into detail about audience analysis in previous blogs (just look in the categories). Once again, you will want to find out as much as you can about who you will be interviewing with, what their interests are in this position and customize your interview preparation based on this.
3. Prepare your presentation (your stories). Take a good look at the job description and think of the skills and competencies that will be required and desireable for the job. Then, think of examples in your past where you have demonstrated these skills and capabilities. During the interview you can use thes examples/stories to give a clear picture to the interviewer that you have the experience to be successful at the job.
4. Voice control. Work on your voice before the interview to be sure that you are speaking clearly, loudly enough and confidently. You don’t want a shaky and weak voice during your interview.
5. Non-verbal messaging and body language. You will want to appear confident, interested, honest, caring, etc. during your interview. You can give all of these messages through body language by sitting up straight, sitting at the edge of your chair, having good eye contact with the interviewer(s) and smiling. Of course, you will want to take care that your personal appearance is professional.
6. Practice . The key to successful public speaking and successful interviews is practice. Practice “mock interviews” with friends or family so that you have a chance to answer questions, weave your stories into the conversaion and get confortable talking about yourself. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be when the interview takes place.
A good resource which can help both with interviewing and with being successful in your current job is:
How to Be the Person Successful Companies Fight to Keep by Connie Podesta
To your success,