Interview Skills

How One Presentation Turned Into $7,500

walking away from moneyHow much is your presentation worth? If you're not speaking with power and confidence, you're losing money. There is an ROI to your presentation. A few months ago, I met with a coaching prospect and presented myself and my services. He recently confided that he had interviewed a number of coaches before selecting me. He said that I was the most professional, I had a game plan, and I told him the truth about his coaching needs. Some coaches were dressed too casually. Some said they would do whatever he wanted when he asked them about their approach. He didn't feel confident about their services. I closed the sale with one meeting - with one presentation.

People think of public speaking as having intangible benefits - you make people feel good, you get a message across, maybe someone feels inspired. But if you're not selling a product or service, you may think there is no tangible value.

In beauty pageants, the interview is weighted at 40% of the score. The contestant's ability to present herself well yields thousands of dollars in scholarship money. That's tangible.

When you're interviewing for a job, your resume gets you in the door. Your presentation is what gets you the job. The ROI on that presentation is equal to the salary you're offered.

Your ability to sell yourself and your value gives you an extra edge when you get a raise and get promoted. Figure out how much of an increase you'll get, and that is the ROI of your presentation.

Speaking is not a soft skill. It's a powerful leadership skill and can no longer be avoided. You don't have to be a professional speaker to gain financially from your presentation.

How much is your speaking worth?

Video Marketing-The New Interview Presentation

How do you make your job interview stand out in a crowded interview? In a previous post I blogged about a woman who was getting ready to pitch her boss for a promotion.  To make her and her presentation memorable we decided to create a short video. Why? Because I see a change in the market. is the number two search engine after google.  Video creates that personal touch and ups the trust factor in presentation marketing.  Well, now it seems that interviewers are catching on.  Is the resume becoming passe? Probably not. But a video presentation can sell you better than any piece of paper. An expert can write a professional resume but nobody can speak for you. Speakmarketing is one of the most powerful ways to promote a business and create visibility inside the workplace. So it makes sense that video presentation would be the next wave in job interviews.  Now more than ever before, everybody must have good presentation skills. Speaking is the new competitive weapon.

Read this WSJ article about the impact of digital media.

71% of Employers Value Emotional Intelligence over IQ

Whether you're interviewing for a job, asking for a raise, or  angling for a promotion, your success may have less to do with your skills and intelligence. You'll have greater success by building relationships, communicating clearly, and presenting yourself with confidence and conviction. It seems that street smarts and people skills will get you where you want to go. It's also true for entrepreneurs. In his newest book, The Education of Millionaires, Michael Ellsberg talks about entrepreneurs who dropped out of college and bootstrapped their way to success. He tells a story of interviewing an MBA for a part time data entry job for his start-up company. The  job candidate talked theory, tables, and projections. He didn't get it. Michael ended up hiring a woman who was a  high school drop out with a good work ethic. She performed well.  A man I knew who worked for the Navy was promoted over others with more experience because he had good people skills. This is true of speakers. Think of motivational speakers. Why are some of them so powerful on the platform? Because they speak from emotion. Their message goes right to the heart. They understand how to communicate. Consider the excellent presenters you know. What makes them excellent? They may be giving an update, describing a product, or convincing the audience of an idea. I'll bet that they all have one thing in common-high emotional intelligence. They connect person-to-person, eye-to-eye. These public speakers inject humor when appropriate and are always aware of the audience and environment. They mirror their audience and keep pace with their energy-toning it down when the group is overwhelmed and pumping up the volume when their energy wanes.  Public speakers and presenters with high EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) instinctively know it's about the audience- not about them. This is why a  "polished" presenter or subject matter expert  may know all the right content and  mechanics of speaking,  but never connects with the audience.  As it's been said many times,  "They don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."

For more information on emotional intelligence read this survey from career builder.

Do you agree that EQ is more important than IQ?  What's been your experience?

3 Interview Questions You Must Master

Here are the facts:More people are interviewing for jobs. Hiring decisions are based on 60% chemistry and 40% skills. Your presentation skills are critical for interviewing success.

And there are 3 questions you must master. When I coach C-level executives in transition we begin with these 3 potent questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself
  2. Why did you leave your job?
  3. Why should I hire you?

Question number 1 is a selling opportunity. Lead with your 3 strengths or elevator speech. Don't start with your job history. Briefly highlight your job history and accomplishments. Close the loop by saying, "And what I'm looking to do next is..."

Question number 2 must be clear, brief, and stated with confidence. If you give too many details or seem hesitant, the interviewer will seize the moment and drill down. Don't raise a red flag by defending your position. State the facts. "There was a restructuring and my job was eliminated."

Question number 3 is a final opportunity to sell your knowledge, skills, and abilities. Listen to their needs and demonstrate how your skills match the job description.

An interview is public speaking. These 3 questions are the core of every interview. Get ready to prepare, polish and present.

Can A Good Resume Trump a Weak Presentation?

Recently, I had a conversation with one of my C-level clients. He had referred one of his young associates to work with me on building confidence. This bright, hardworking associate didn't show up powerfully at meetings with clients and projected a weak presentation. Although knowledgeable about the research, the associate was soft spoken and simply reported facts from the PowerPoint data. The goal was to eventually lead the meetings. After the coaching program, there was a change in the presentation. The associate was more confident, owned the room, and spoke with authority adding valuable comments and explanations to the charts. My client was pleased with the results and confided in me that initially, he didn't think the job interview would go very long.

He described the candidate as having a weak handshake and too soft spoken. Within seconds of meeting, he thought to himself, "No way am I making a job offer." But he did the polite thing and began asking questions. The more he probed the better the applicant sounded. There was substance beneath that lackluster presence. The references checked out as he learned that this candidate accomplished 50% more work than anyone else. He had discovered a diamond in the rough. To his credit he made an offer. Realizing this was a good quality person, he knew some coaching would enhance the presentation skills.

This associate was lucky. The manager was astute and patient enough to dig beneath the surface. But this is the exception, not the rule. Most job candidates are dismissed early on because of poor public speaking skills and an inability to present themselves. And many interviewers are not skilled themselves in interviewing skills.

It takes seven seconds or less to make a first impression. You can look good on paper. But if you can't pass the handshake test, you may not get a second chance.

14 Ways to Present a Positive Image

It's the season for holiday parties and networking. Networking is a form of public speaking. Excellent presentation skills can draw people in and keep them interested.

Here are a few tips for making a good impression:

1. Own the room. Stand tall and walk in with confidence. 2. Smile. You'll appear more approachable and confident. 3. Be the first to reach out. Extend your hand and give a frim handshake. A weak handshake is an immediate turn off. 4. Look directly into someone's eyes. Don't scan the room while talking to one person. 5. Don't chew gum. 6. Speak clearly and pause. Sloppy or hurried speech is perceived as negative. Eliminate slang. 7. Be fully present. Focus on the person and listen non-verbally with body language and with words. 8. Ask questions about them instead of talking about yourself. 9. Find common ground quickly.This will build instant rapport. 10. Give compliments. 11. Paraphrase. It's a form of acknowledging people. This skill makes you very attractive. It communicates you're listening. 12. Have something interesting to say. Comment on the other person's interests. 13. Be a giver. Offer a tip or an introduction to others. Give without expecting anything in return. 14. Mirror the other person. Match their speaking rate, volume level, and words. If they speak fast, quicken your pace. If they are soft-spoken, lower your volume. People like people who are most like them.

Remember:   It takes 7 seconds or less to make a good first impression.You're always on stage.

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.