Monday, March 04, 2013

This little volume on speech-making delivers a lot of punch

From Give your speech, change the world:  how to move your audience to action by Nick Morgan (Harvard Business School Press, 2003, 2005)

We stumbled across this slim, unprepossessing volume.  It surely packs a punch.  A proverbial lightweight who punches like a heavyweight.  Lightweight?  Paperback, just 228 pages, and packaged in a dull gray-blue cover with unappealing graphics, it belies the content.  The material inside is, in a word, terrific.  All kinds of unexpected nuggets in what is billed as a "how to make a speech" book.  For example, how to succeed in a job interview.  (What could more "change your world" than that?)

e.g. (bf emphasis below ours) from the text:

The secret of successful interviewing is to focus on accomplishing two tasks: conveying something relevant to the interviewer about yourself, and creating a bond  -  the beginning of trust  -  between you and the interviewer. How do you manage those two objectives in what is admittedly a high-stakes, high-stress, artificial situation? Here, audience-centered speaking will get you the job almost every time, as long as you remember that the audience is the interviewer in front of you, and not yourself. You're there to connect, not to show off.

Have an agenda.

All too many interviewees see an interview as a largely passive activity, answering the questions that are asked. A successful applicant needs to have a prepared agenda, of no more than a few items, that he will cover in the interview, no matter what questions are asked. The interview is a chance to bring your resume to life. What are your three key accomplishments that this prospective employer needs to know that will help her decide to hire?

What particular skills do you possess that will help you get this job done? What makes you stand out from the pack of applicants? Develop a few well-stated, articulate mini-speeches you can easily and tactfully slip in during the interview.  Practice "bridging" from the question to your "answer.” You can tailor these set, prepared answers to specific job openings by doing a little research on the company before the interview and asking yourself, "What is the problem this company faces for which I am a solution?" Then tell the interviewer!