Is Amy Cuddy's Wonder Woman Pose A Fraud?


ellevate presentationMy colleague TJ Walker challenged the validity of Harvard professor, Amy Cuddy's power pose. Amy Cuddy has one of the most popular youtube videos on body language. She advises people to adopt the Wonder Woman pose (hands on hips) to feel powerful when speaking in public. In TJ's twitter post today, he disputes this claim and calls it a fraud. Here's my opinion. The power pose was recommended to assuage public speaking fear. It's based on neuroscience research and when this pose is held for 2 minutes, there is an increase in testosterone. Higher levels of the hormone, testosterone, are found in those who are risk takers.

What was novel was that there was Harvard research backing up her claims. Do I think she's a fraud? No. Unless the research is flawed, it's helpful to have a technique to increase confidence. And there is a body language of confidence. The mind-body connection is widely accepted.

However, as an executive speech coach who works with women leaders and male executives, I don't claim that this one pose is a panacea for public speaking fear, nor does it make you a knockout presenter. TJ makes several good points. Amy Cuddy had a compelling story, a strong structure to her speech, and good visuals. I always tell my clients that great delivery sits on great structure. Your presentation delivery is only as good as your organization. Public speaking success is 90% preparation and 10% delivery.

A client recently hired me for four hours to work on a 15 minute high stakes presentation. That did not include the time she spent with the graphic designer.

So to feel confident, the first step is preparation, planning, and a good, strong message. Presenters need to master their minds as well as their skill set. Does it help to use the power pose? Probably. I teach it to audiences. It makes them feel powerful. But it's not the whole story. There are other physical skills I give them. But I do believe that the mind affects the body and the body affects the mind.

So as long as presenters prepare and practice their message, why not strike a pose and feel powerful?

Cook Up a Speech Your Audience Can Chew On

burger-827310__180How is public speaking like cooking? Imagine you walk into a diner. You open the menu and order a hamburger. Your mouth is watering for that juicy burger. The aroma of sizzling beef wafts toward you as the waiter brings it to your table.

The server places the dish in front of you and suddenly you do a double take. Sitting on top of the bun is the burger! It's messy and greasy. How are you supposed to eat that? Isn't the burger supposed to be in between the buns? You feel confused, disappointed, and irritated at the server who should know how to serve up a sandwich.

Most likely you've never had this experience in a restaurant. But I'll guarantee that many of us have had that experience at a conference or meeting.

Just as the diner anticipates the meal, the audience anticipates the speech. They expect the public speaker to know how to deliver the presentation. It's not enough to have good platform skills if the speech or presentation is disorganized.

Much like the burger on top of the bun, many public speakers begin with details making the message confusing and difficult to follow. The result is indigestion. The audience can't digest the message because they don't know what they are listening for.

Consider a leader I coached who was losing credibility when she spoke to senior management. After listening to her presentation, I was confused. She had a clear call to action. I knew what she wanted but I had no idea how she got there. We were both lost in the weeds of details that led nowhere.

The remedy was simple: SAVE THE MEAT FOR THE MIDDLE. Think of the top of the bun as your opening and the bottom of the bun as your conclusion. The opening and conclusion of the presentation usually take the same amount of time to deliver. The bulk of the speech is saved for the body, or the middle of the presentation. Begin with the overview, then dive into the details, and then recap the main points.

After we reworked the client's structure, she gave the presentation and was able to win approval for her project.

When you use the sandwich technique, you'll reduce your preparation time because you'll have a clear and simple format. Your audience will be able to follow your message because it will flow. So set the table with your opening, feed them appetizing ideas they can chew on, and save the meat for the middle. When you use this recipe, you'll influence your audience and get your just desserts!

Are You Seen But Not Heard?

Karen was newly appointed to her position in finance, where she was responsible for managing and keeping the department on budget. Soft-spoken and petite, Karen had a hard time making herself heard during meetings, as her aggressive team shouted over her and challenged her when she questioned their figures...

Public Speaking: Entice Your Audience to Come to You

A coaching client called me because she was about to have a performance discussion with her boss. She wanted to be promoted and knew she had to be a clear, confident, and convincing communicator. But there was one presentation obstacle that she wasn't sure she could overcome. Her boss liked to watch financial news on TV when people were in the office. She wondered how she could command his attention, gain his respect, and make herself heard. In keeping with my philosophy, (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em), we decided to make a three minute video. That's right! Showing a video would get his attention. My client would speak into the video camera as if she were speaking directly to her boss. She would talk about her credentials and her accomplishments and then add a couple of quick video testimonials from her biggest supporters in the company.  Thinking creatively would get his attention,   position herself as an innovative, outside -the box -thinker, and certainly make her more memorable than any of her colleagues.

Last month, I wrote about Public Speaking: When Science Meets Art, which is a great example of using creativity when presenting. In 2012 the stakes will be higher.  Greater creativity and innovation will be needed for communicators and public speakers to get noticed, stand out, and be heard. And video marketing will play an important role.

Maximize Your One-to-One Communication

One-on-one conversations happen more frequently than any other kind of communication. One of the biggest mistakes people make when speaking one-to-one, is not treating it as a presentation.  While people prepare extensively for group presentations, when it comes to one-to-one, they wing it. Even the most casual conversation benefits from preparation. An effective tool for one-on-one communication is the DiSC Personal Profile System. DiSC helps you to understand your communication style and recognize the communication styles of others so that you can get the results you want. Contact us for a FREE sample report.

Here's an excerpt from Knockout Presentations about one-to-one communication.

Speaking to an individual is different from the group experience. Whether you're training someone, selling, coaching, or asking for a raise, here are some tips for speaking one-to-one.

  • Eliminate distractions. Choose a comfortable setting-perhaps your office or a conference room with good lighting. Block off distracting window views and minimize interruptions. Clear the table of clutter.
  • Sit next to the person at eye level. Sit side by side rather than across a desk from each other. This has psychological and physical effects. It creates a feeling of being on the same side and allows both people to look at materials from the same perspective.
  • Maintain good eye contact but don't stare. In a group, you make eye contact with everyone. With individuals, you don't want to lock eyes. Break eye contact from time to time. A good guide is to look at the person 70% of the time.
  • Use visual aids. Props, pictures, and objects can serve as effective visual aids. Visuals are important learning tools, and you shouldn't overlook them in a one-to-one situation. Be sure your visuals are appropriate to the situation. A few carefully placed props and occasional use of a table easel can enhance your presentation.
  • Clarify but don't repeat questions. In a large group, you repeat the question so that everyone can hear it. But in one-to-one settings, the same technique would be silly. You may ask for clarification: "Are you saying that you need more practice?" Or you may restate the question in your answer: "The procedure for this project is..."
  • Maintain a comfortable physical distance. Don't invade the other person's space. When sitting side by side, don't lean in or take over the person's materials. Ask permission to demonstrate with or alter their materials.
  • Pause. The brain needs a few seconds to process information. Don't overload the learner with too much data. Pause between thoughts to let the information sink in.
  • Use smaller gestures. Show enthusiasm and get involved with the learner. Allow yourself to be natural and expressive. But contain your gestures, because the physical space is smaller in one-to-one situations. Wide, sweeping movements will seem out of place.
  • Prepare and organize. It's easy to lose track of time when you're working with only one person. Whether you train one person or a hundred, the preparation is the same. Without adequate preparation, you'll seem disorganized and unprofessional. Prepare an outline and establish time frames.
  • Watch for nonverbal cues. In a group, different personalities react in diverse ways. Someone in the group will often say what others are thinking. In a one-to-one situation, however, the person may feel reluctant to tell you that he or she needs a break or doesn't understand. Watch for body language and continually check back: "You look like you disagree." "Are you ready for a break?" "Is this something you can use on the job?"

Whether you're speaking to one person or a thousand, communication happens one- to- one.  It's all public speaking.

Contact us for a FREE sample DiSC report to learn your personal communication style.

Don't Let an Earthquake Knock Out Your Presentation

On Tuesday I was coaching a client in New Jersey. I began to feel my chair vibrate as I was filming him. He saw the expression on my face and thought it was disapproval. "Is that an earthquake?" I asked. "No, the building sways from the bridge traffic," he explained.  "Look at the chandelier," I countered. "We're having an earthquake."

We left the conference room in search of an office TV.  Sure enough, people came out of their offices to say that a 5.9 earthquake was reported in Virginia and Washington D.C.  After the shaking subsided, we continued our speech coaching session.

This was a first for me. It got me thinking about speaking disasters. I recalled the woman who felt her elastic snap on her half slip while she was on stage. The slip dropped to her ankles.  She calmly stepped out of it and continued her speech. Then there was the man who was in the middle of his speech when someone smelled smoke and the auditorium was evacuated. He herded his group to the parking lot, stood on a car and continued his speech. Now that's grace under pressure.

Most public speakers will never encounter a disaster or "Act of God." But at some point they will encounter Murphy's Law - if it can go wrong, it will. The technology won't work, you'll knock over a flip chart, your mind will go blank, a heckler will be gunning for you.

Just like governments have disaster recovery plans, public speakers need a recovery strategy. Accept and anticipate that things will go wrong. What's your biggest fear? Plan for it. If the technology goes down, have a hard copy back-up. If you forget your next point, use humor. ("I'm having a senior moment." ) The key is to acknowledge the situation, take charge, and move on.  Things happen. The audience will never fault you when you act with confidence and laugh at yourself.

Chapter 10 of Knockout Presentations includes techniques for handling difficult audiences and deadly disasters. Click here to find it on Amazon.

I'd love to hear from you. What was your worst speaking experience? What did you do about it?

How to Give Good Phone-Six Tips for An Effective Audio Conference

Nothing beats face-to-face communication. But it seems that we're communicating more often by audio conference. My clients are continually challenged by this medium. It's no wonder. Visual communication, which is 55% of the message, is missing. So here are six tips to get the results you want from an audio conference.

  1. Send the agenda in advance to all callers. It will give introverts or international participants time to digest the material.
  2. Set the expectations at the beginning of the call. Tell them to mute their phones, announce their names before speaking, hit the keypad if they have a question.
  3. Assign a room monitor. Conference calls can be chaotic. To keep control, ask each site to select a point person. That person will speak for the group when there are technical difficulties or communication challenges.
  4. Test equipment by calling in 10 minutes early. This will give the technical person time to troubleshoot.
  5. Count to four before you answer. There may be audio delays. People need a pause to absorb what you just said. Rapid speaking will cause listeners to lose the message.
  6. Engage the listeners. If you're a talking head for 30 minutes, they'll be checking email. Check in periodically and ask for questions and feedback. Require them to do something. Example: "Draw a circle. Put your project in the middle. Now draw 6 spokes around the circle. Write each module on the spokes." Having more than one speaker will keep their attention longer.

And don't forget to recap the follow-up steps so nothing falls through the cracks. Remember an audio conference is a presentation.

Take our audio conference survey and get a free podcast - How to do Video Media Interviews.

Fear of Public Speaking Series: Plan a Recovery Strategy

Murphy's Law will happen during one of your presentations. Guaranteed. The challenge is what to do about it.  The pros don't get rattled by mishaps. They plan for them. Confident speakers know when accidents happen - they can handle them. That's because they anticipate and plan a recovery strategy. Anyone can deliver a good presentation when things are going smoothly. But when disaster strikes, the great public speakers rise to the occasion and put their best public speaking foot forward.

Watch the video on YouTube

15 Tips to Conquer Fear of Public Speaking

July is Freedom from Fear of Speaking Month. Summer is a good time to take a public speaking class, get a coach and knockout fear of speaking. Here are 15 tips to help you become a confident public speaker.

  1. Get over yourself Fear of Speaking - Nervousness is being self-centered. It's not about you-it's about them. The audience wants you to succeed.
  2. Focus on the breath - Breathe through the diaphragm of belly. Take 5-10 deep cleansing breaths.
  3. Prepare and Rehearse - Practice out loud and time your speech. Videotape yourself. You don't look as nervous as you feel.
  4. Set an anchor - Remember a time when you were at the top of your game. Get the feeling. Press your index finger and thumb together and anchor it. Press your fingers together right before you speak.
  5. Affirm your success - Overwrite negative programming by writing positive statements and say them to yourself. "I'm confident." "I can do this."
  6. Arrive early - Mingle with others and you'll feel like you have friends in the audience.
  7. Visualize your outcome - Create the outcome you want in your mind. Imagine every step of your presentation until the outcome is exactly the way you want it.
  8. Transfer your nervousness - Squeeze a small foam ball in your hand.
  9. Make contact with a friend - Look at a friendly face and smile. You'll feel you are supported.
  10. Plan a recovery strategy - Imagine your worst scenario and plan how you'll handle it in advance. Humor works great.
  11. Take time to pause - Stop for 3 beats of silence at the end of as sentence. You'll be able to catch your breath and think.
  12. Make your fear smaller - Imagine your fear as a fiery ball. In your mind's eye, shrink it and move it far away.
  13. Express your passion - Get excited and involved in your message or story and pretty soon you'll forget yourself.
  14. Meditate - Ten minutes of meditation will calm and focus your mind.
  15. Work the room - Release energy through moving to different parts of the room and using gestures. You'll feel energized.

What are your favorite tips for conquering fear of public speaking?

Speaking Resolutions: Eleven for 2011

Make this your best year. Start by polishing your presentation and communication skills. Resolve to follow these eleven speaking principles to speak with greater impact.

  1. Make a promise to improve your communication skills. A promise is stronger than a goal. When you promise, it's the strongest commitment you can make to yourself.

  2. Follow the 6-by-6 Rule when using PowerPoint. Aim for reader-friendly slides: 6 words or less per line and 6 lines or less per slide.

  3. Give a speech without PowerPoint. We are PowerPointed out! Don't use slides as a crutch. Try connecting with the audience. The key word in visual aid is AID. You are the message.

  4. Get comfortable with silence. Most people fear silence and this causes them to speak too fast and to use lots of 'um's and 'ah's. Practice dramatic pauses.

  5. Listen to the audience listening. There's always a silent communication between the speaker and the audience. Tune in, feel, and hear what the audience is telling you.
  6. Speak from your head and your heart. Speakers either give too much data and stay on the intellectual plane or they just tell entertaining stories without enough substance. Today's audiences want hard data in an entertaining style.

  7. Tell more stories. Stories create word pictures, which are memorable and touch the heart. Even a business presentation is more effective when using stories, analogies, and metaphors.
  8. Don't be afraid to be real. You don't have to be a perfect presenter. Most audiences don't relate to someone who's slick and overly polished. Don't imitate someone else. Be your authentic self - the audience can see through phoniness.
  9. Kick your energy up a notch. Enthusiasm sells and with bigger groups you need greater energy to make an impact. You need to push your energy past your comfort level, especially on video and television, which tend to reduce energy.
  10. Practice the Rule of Three. Most people think in threes. When crafting a presentation, aim for three agenda items, three main points, three benefits.
  11. Get over yourself - it's not about you, it's about the audience. Fear of public speaking is still at the top of our list of phobias. Take the focus off of YOU - when you're nervous, you're self-centered. Focus on the audience.

Good communicators are more successful in all areas of life: relationships, career, and well-being. And speaking is the new competitive weapon.

Presenting At Trade Shows

Trade shows are presentations and  exhibiting is serious business. I've seen exhibitors lose sales because they didn't know how to present themselves at the booth. Follow these simple tips to increase your traffic: * Define your purpose. Why are you there? To conduct market research? To generate leads? To introduce a new product? Defining your purpose will give you a clear focus for the day.

* Project the right image. Are you upscale? Small but friendly? Specially priced? Once you agree on the company's image, define your behaviors and act accordingly.

* Set goals. Be specific. "To generate 25 new leads for hotel rooms by April 1st is measurable and specific. By setting a goal you'll be able to measure your success. * Organize the booth. Rid the booth of clutter. If you have a lot of handouts place them out of view away from the brochures. You can pull them out if needed. Don't drink coffee or eat snacks while you're in the booth; it creates an unprofessional look. Take a break and eat in the concession area. Don't read the newspaper during slow times. Remember all eyes are on you.

* Polish your presentation. Greet each person with a smile, a firm handshake, and direct eye contact. Nobody wants to buy from someone who's darting eyes are looking for the next lead. Be warm and enthusiastic. Take short notes when talking to a prospect. Don't chew gum, smoke, or chat with co-workers while you're in the booth. And never leave the booth unattended.

* Put your best foot forward. It's best to stand in front of the booth. That makes it easier to greet customers. Sitting will make you look too casual and not ready to do business.

* Promote the booth. Send invitations and advertise in advance of the event. Schedule appointments to meet with existing customers. Sponsor a fun event at your booth such as roulette or golf and watch the crowds gather.

* Don't give away the store. Instead of handing bags of premiums to everyone who walks by, ask for business cards. Keep gifts on the back table. When someone arrives, ask for a business card in exchange  for a prize.

* Prepare an opening line. Know your audience. Don't waste time talking to non-buyers. "Are you a meeting planner?' "Do you purchase computers?" "Are you a purchasing agent?" If the answer is yes you can continue your presentation. Otherwise, politely send them on their way. Your goal is to present to qualified prospects.

* Listen, listen, listen. The number one reason for losing the sale is the salesperson didn't listen. Listen for needs and wants. Most trade show presenters are too busy talking. Listening will give you the competitive edge.

How is a Magazine Ad Like Public Speaking?

I was on the ferry this morning reading the paper and having my green tea when I was distracted by the woman sitting next to me. She was aggressively ripping out pages from a magazine. I looked at the pile of pages next to her to see if there was any pattern to her choices. They seemed random- a page of text, a good looking male model. Curiosity finally got a hold of me as I leaned over and asked, "Are you creating a vision board?" She paused for a moment as if trying to process what I had just said. "No, " she explained, "I'm pulling out the ads. It makes it easier to read." She went on to say, "It's disturbing to realize the magazine is mostly ads." She was right. I find those paper pull-out ads to be annoying and they make turning the pages difficult.

What a novel way to read a magazine! I'd never seen anyone prepare to read. Yet, that woman on the ferry was more prepared than many of the presenters I observe.

And it made me realize something about speaking. Those paper ads are like non-words in a speech. Those irritating fillers such as "um", "you know," "ah", "like" are everywhere. Non-words are analogous to those annoying ads in magazines that prevent you from reading the article or even finding the article with ease. Non-words, like ads, are distractions that blur the message.

What are you doing to prepare your audience to hear your message?

How are you weeding out non-words that distract from your content?

If everybody practiced their presentations out loud and determined where they inserted non-words, they could then write reminders in their notes and verbally tear out those insidious fillers. When you use non-words you lose credibility even if you're a subject matter expert.

Last week I reconnected with a woman I hadn't seen in years. We figured out that she had attended my Learning Annex Class on How to Give a Knockout Presentation in year 2000! She confided that I had inspired her and that she still thinks of me. How did I inspire her? She said, "You told us never to use non-words and since that time I stopped saying /um/. I tell other people to stop doing it."

Well, apparently, it made a big impact on her presentation as she is now being called as an expert in the media and doing a terrific job. Think of non-words as clutter. Just as we don't like ads in our magazines or commercials on TV, your audience doesn't like hearing a cacophonous trail of ums and ahs.

A Product Launch is a Presentation

I was in line for a sample sale on Fifth Avenue in New York. While I was waiting to get into the showroom, a woman came up to me and asked if she could talk to me about a new product. She began by holding a small purple bottle in her hand. She told me the company was launched a year ago and the founder was a modern day Carrie Bradshaw (Sex in the City). She pontificated about the founder's fashion background, her love of New York City and a desire to combine beauty products and fashion. As I listened I noticed the young woman was wearing shades and I couldn't see her eyes. This created a disconnect for me. Although it was sunny we were standing in the shade. I couldn't connect with her.

She talked about the product creams that were made from pearls and silk and were an all-in-one cosmetic. As the blathering continued, a mild ennui enveloped me. I wondered when she would get to the point. I didn't know what she wanted from me. Finally the verbal vomiting came to a halt. She asked "Would you like to be on our mailing list?" My knee jerk response? "No. Not without a sample."

She had to be kidding. What possible benefit could I derive from that offer? It wasn't even an offer. It was a taking.

So what was wrong with this presentation?

There was no connection. She should have removed her shades to make contact. We connect through the eyes. The presentation was speaker-centered- not listener-centered. Asking me a couple of questions about my skin care needs would have been a lot more effective. And she should have given out samples and then talked about results. At the very least, she could have opened the bottle she was holding and poured a few drops on my hand. This woman went on too long about the founder. Who cares? Do you buy Revlon because you like Charles Revson? If your goal is to build a database you need to entice people with an offer that they care about. There wasn't even a card with a website address.

I always say, "Life is a presentation and everyone is a public speaker." I guess the presenter forgot about that.

Talk Your Way to Small Business Success!

Sunday, April 25 2010 By Susan Wilson Solovic

Successful entrepreneurs are great visionaries, but they also share the gift of gab. They know how to communicate their ideas in an engaging way so others can see and embrace the vision too. More simply stated, they are excellent story-tellers and evangelists for their companies.

In today’s competitive marketplace, communication skills are an important competitive advantage. In fact, Diane DiResta, a professional speech coach and author of “Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch and Pizzazz,

Make Your Training Fun and Memorable

Are you still stuck in lecture mode? Don’t get me wrong. We all have to convey information. But after seven minutes or so, the brain starts to drift. Lecturing, along with reading, are the most passive and least effective forms of learning.

Make learning active! By involving your audience and getting them moving they'll understand and retain the information better and longer.

If your audience is falling asleep, side-talking, or can’t remember what you just said it’s time to turbo-charge your training seminars.

Here are some alternatives to lecturing and tips to accelerate learning:

Understand how people learn. Learning styles may be either visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or cognitive. People may be global, needing the big picture, or linear, needing a logical, detailed approach. Make your learning active and varied and you will capture all the styles.

Tell stories. Create a skit or story to explain a concept. Try setting it in a fairy tale or in King Arthur’s Court and substitute your business concepts. Once upon a time there was a knight who wanted to get to King Arthur’s castle. So he asked the wizard of communication “What is the secret of leadership?

Mastermind Your Way to Speaking Success

As I attended my monthly mastermind group this morning I had a realization. It's no wonder people have difficulty enhancing and sustaining their speaking skills. They try to go it alone.Yes, they may take a class or sign up for a coaching session. Maybe they read Knockout Presentations. But if you don't use it you lose it.

The best way to commit to being a better speaker is accountability. This is where a mastermind group comes in. Why not get two or three friends or associates and form a speaking mastermind? Members should be like-minded people who want to work on their skills. They should also be willing to give honest and balanced feedback. Most importantly, each person would set goals and the group would hold them accountable.

One goal may be to practice more often. If you don't have the opportunity you can join toastmasters.

Commit to a date and do it. If you have a group to report to, you are more likely to take action.

A mastermind group can be formed for all kinds of communication and workplace goals. The key is to keep it small, appoint a facilitator or leader, have an agenda, and show up for meetings. Groups are powerful for helping you advance your goals.

To learn more about forming a mastermind group I recommend the book Meet and Grow Rich by Joe Vitale and Bill Hibbler.;=mastermind+and+get+rich&x;=7&y;=16

There is no substitute for professional coaching but at some point it will end. You can continue to develop and advance your speaking goals by starting your own mastermind group. You don't have to go it alone.

Make it happen in 2010!

Presenting Yourself for the Job Interview

A job interview is a business presentation. You have the opportunity to learn about new companies, new positions, and network with new people. The first step is to equalize the power. And that involves an attitude adjustment. The power should be 50-50. The interviewer is sizing you up AND you're sizing up the company. Don't give all the power to the interviewer. You decide if the company meets your criteria. Once you've balanced the power, here are some tips for presenting a positive image:

Prepare and rehearse. Anticipate difficult questions and prepare a strategy for answering them. Practice your answers out loud until you feel confident.

Know your message. What are your top three strengths, abilities and accomplishments? Know them cold and be able to back them up with examples.

Give a firm handshake. This is your first impression. A weak handshake creates a negative image, as does a bone crushing grip. A firm handshake combined with direct eye contact spells confidence. The handshake should not differ for men and women. Use the same confident and firm grasp.

Create chemistry. Make some small talk to break the ice. Then observe the interviewer and pace his or her energy. Does the interviewer like to get down to business? Then sit up and get to the point. Is he or she a storyteller? Then slow down and give more examples and vignettes. We like people who are most like us. A University or Michigan study determined that when hiring managers the formula was 60% chemistry and 40% skills.

Think and Pause. An interview is not a free association test. Think before you answer. Pause and wait for a response. Don't rattle on at breakneck speed. Speed talking is a sign of nervousness.

Be enthusiastic and upbeat. Nothing sells like enthusiasm. A study by the University of Michigan revealed that when hiring managers, the formula was 60% chemistry and 40% skills. Eagerness and a positive attitude can compensate for a lack of experience.

Ask questions. Job candidates who don't ask questions are perceived as disinterested. Preplan some questions. In the event that the interviewer is extremely thorough, ask an industry question. Don't lead with salary and benefit questions.

Listen. This skill more than any other is the key to your success. Listen with your eyes. What's the body language telling you? Listen with your ears. What do you hear in the tone and words? Listen with your heart. What do you hear between the lines? What is not being said? Clarify and paraphrase what the interviewer said before answering the question. (To improve your listening ask about the Listening Styles Profile and the Listen and Sell audio tape at

Ask for the next step. Don't leave without knowing what's next. This is especially critical in sales jobs. The interviewer wants to see if you can ask for the order. If appropriate ask for the job. Express your interest and say, "Where do we go from here?" " What is the next step?" "When should I call you?"

Say thank you. Write a thank you note and mention something specific to each interviewer. Stay in touch. Follow-up may be the reason you finally land the job.

Copyright © Diane DiResta. All rights reserved.