Communication is the most valuable tool we have both within the workplace and in our personal lives. It is the tool by which we tell others how we feel, what our needs are. We use it in every aspect of our daily lives to instruct, to reprimand, to praise. Good communication is a vital aspect of completing a successful interview.
Speaking is the most commonly used means of communicating in our society – but how often do you think about how you communicate? It is important to remember that how we interpret messages can be affected by our life experiences, educational and cultural aspects, personalities, environment, etc. So be clear and concise when answering questions or marketing your skills and abilities at an interview. If you don’t understand a question, ask for clarification. It is better to ask than make a mistake that could prove costly and result in not being considered for a position
Improving Your Speech
There are a number of factors that could prevent you from achieving a successful interview. These include faulty speech habits, glaring mispronunciations, poor voice projection, fractured grammar, poor diction, personal idiosyncrasies in speech pattern, dropped word endings, garbled sounds, the constant use of certain phrases (‘like’ or ‘do you know what I mean’) and the frequent use of Ahs and Ums.
Listening at an Interview
Why are listening skills so important? Well it’s important to ensure that each party at the interview is on the same page so to speak – they understand each other. So the following are some ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts that will give you some guidance for interviews:
1. Take time to listen, give the speaker your full attention, and hear the speaker out even though he or she is repetitious.
2. Withhold judgment until the speaker is finished; strive to locate the main ideas of the question being asked.
3. Try to determine the word meanings within the context of the speaker’s back-ground; listen for what is being implied as compared to what is being said.
4. Look (not stare) at the speaker most of the time; smile, nod, and give an encouraging sign if the speaker hesitates.
5. If you don’t understand the question, be sure that you take the time to clarify your understanding of what the interviewer is after by restating the interviewer’s question at appropriate moments to make sure that you have it correctly.
1. Don’t listen with only half an ear by ‘tuning out’ the Interviewer and pretending you are listening.
2. Don’t unnecessarily interrupt the speaker or finish the speaker’s statement because of impatience or of wanting to respond immediately.
3. Don’t fidget or doodle while listening; don’t let other distractions bother you and the interviewer.
4. Don’t confuse facts with opinions.
5. Don’t respond until the speaker has said what he or she wants to say.
The Image we present at Interviews:
Our self-image is the way we see and think of ourselves. Some people have a very strong, positive self-image, while others have a negative self-image. This affects the way we behave and the image we project to others.
A positive self-image, one that says, “l’m confident in my abilities, I’m a professional and I get along well with others and achieve my goals”, says this not only to ourselves but also to the world. It affects the way we present ourselves to others – the way we dress, speak, and behave. Therefore, it affects the response we get from others.
Similarly, a negative self-image, one that says: “Really l’m a loser; I never seem to be able to do anything right and no-one really likes me; I’ll never amount to much”, also affects the way we present ourselves and the response we get.
Our subconscious is very powerful and whether we have a more positive or a negative self-image, it will work hard to make sure we live up (or down) to it. Furthermore, it will usually succeed.
This means that the first step in managing our self-images is to listen to the things we say to ourselves, our self-talk. What do you say to yourself when you make a mistake? Do you berate yourself with “What a fool I am! Why can’t I do anything right?” Or do you empower yourself and say. “That’s not like me. Usually I do that right” or “Next time I’ll do it like this.”
Be mindful of the power of words – they can empower but they can also destroy. Communicate with respect and consideration for others.