Karen called with great news – she got the job! She had been working towards this big promotion for a few years.
It was a big promotion so it required a big plan. She came to me to control her enthusiasm and express herself succinctly. She had so much to say that it came out all jumbled. She applied discipline to her exuberance, looked her mentors and interviewers in the eye and stated her case directly. It worked!!
This great news got me thinking. Exuberance and talent are great but evidently not enough. Karen needed self-discipline to close the deal. What is it about self-discipline that makes what we have to say come out stronger?
We all have something to say. How can we get that information out in a way that other people will appreciate?
This is a difficult question. In my opinion, the single biggest problem candidates’ face is the manner in which they speak about themselves. They often get so caught up in their words and either their exuberance or their reticence in describing themselves that the message gets lost.
In an article about race relations, “Living the Dream?” in AARP magazine, NPR correspondent Michele Norris shares a technique she learned from a former professor to make it easier to share difficult subjects. She said, “Boil the story down to no more than six words.” Norris was trying to make it easier to “crystallize people’s feelings about race and identity”. The responses she got were heart wrenching; being forced to edit down to six words got straight to the core issues.
Can the same technique be used to distill job seekers’ thoughts into succinct statements about their expansive wishes and dreams? It is an intriguing idea. I decided to give it a try.
I have been having trouble saying succinctly what we do at The Interview Doctor. I know who our clients are. They are people seeking something new even if they are unsure what that something is. I know those folks often have problems leaping over obstacles (including themselves) to get what they want. I have been unable to say this in a simple fashion.
We have had several slogans: “We help you find the job you love” and “Fast action remedies to your new job”. Could I do better? My attempts got progressively stronger and clearer:
Plan and understand what you want.
Be succinct, have plan, get job.
Succinct goal, planning gets the job.
Plan with clear goal gets prize.
Know and say what you want.
Our clients get what they want.
I like the last one best. I think this technique really works! By eliminating all the clutter you can get to the core of the matter, state what you really want and what you have to offer to a company.