Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pardon me while I fall asleep

It is the moment that we all dread. It is a nightmare, unfortunately it is real, and you won’t wake up and smell the coffee.

It is interview time, and you are rambling. You can tell you are rambling because every word you say echoes inside your head with the phrase; “why did I just say that?” The interviewer is feigning interest but you can tell that she is sleeping or worse yet thinking of something else, something like, “How in the world did this guy get an interview with us?” You manage to pull it together at the end, shake her hand, mumble a “thanks”, and head to the nearest restroom to puke.

You are not alone.

Well, you are alone in the restroom, but not alone when it comes to blowing the interview.
Whether it is an interview, or a chance meeting at a conference with someone you need to impress, it can blow up if you are not prepared.

Think about it. Not being prepared to elegantly and efficiently tell your story is like building a great race car and forgetting to install the steering wheel.

You have a great education, perhaps a PHD from MIT, some pertinent work experience; all this you have worked hard to obtain, but have you worked on your delivery? And if you have, how often and when was the last time you executed on that delivery?

Why do the best professional athletes and entertainers maintain such a spartan-like approach to practice and rehearsal? Other than the pursuit of perfection, I would submit that it has to do with nerves. When you are on any stage, what you thought you had in the bag can suddenly be out of the bag. Simply put, your chops have to be so strong that if you get nervous, you will still execute very well.

So the next time you are headed to a conference or if you have an interview lined up, prepare, prepare, and then prepare again. But don’t just prepare the facts, prepare and practice your delivery. And remember; make it informative, interesting, and SHORT.