Are you a talker or a listener? My husband is a talker, a motor mouth.
He can talk to a shoe. He talks non-stop. When we travel with friends on our boat he is famous for his non-stop patter of interesting and sometimes silly comments that alternately annoy and crack up folks listening on the radio. He is the one who can always get the bridge tender or lock master to crack a smile. This is a great attribute most times.
Being a motor mouth is a behavioral style my husband was born with. He was always like that. Although he can be quiet, he is normally chatty. This is a strength for him.
I can’t do that. I am much quieter. I formulate responses in my head before I talk.
Sometimes the words don’t come out as beautifully as they sounded in my head. Sometimes I sit there not saying anything but thinking up a storm.
Chatty people sometimes talk before they think. Quiet people take time to formulate the entire response before speaking. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages. Everyone is different. It is important to use your strengths in ways that enhance your job search.
An interview is not a normal conversation. Each question is asked for a specific reason. You need to consider what the interviewer is looking for before you respond. The first thing to come into your mind and out of your mouth might not be the best answer.
Think before you talk.
There is one piece of advice that benefits both quiet people and motor mouths: Prepare your responses in advance. Simple as that.
Since most interviewers ask the same questions, the questions you get in an interview should not be a surprise. It is possible to prepare in advance exactly what you want to say to each potential interview question. Sort of like a script that you internalize.
Your responses become strategic. You have thought this through in advance and can figure out the best response to each question to direct the listener to the portion of your background or the story you want to highlight.
This approach is advantageous to both the motor mouth and the quiet person.
- The motor mouth can practice controlled, focused responses that give only the information the listener is looking for using fewer words without rambling.
- The quiet person can have a smooth answer come out of his/her mouth without stammering and fumbling.
Why aren’t you already doing this?