Thursday, April 18, 2013

What do You Have to Offer? (Pt II)


More about presenting yourself… 

Occasionally people confuse an accomplishment with a benefit. Although they may seem similar they are not the same. The achievement is more personal and the benefit is related  to how your positive performance affected the company in a productive manner, with beneficial results for your employer.  

Having developed an introductory presentation, you will go onward; always able to present yourself at a moment's notice and, further, be better prepared to interview. For example: when you participate in a first-round interview, a predictable question is, “…tell me about yourself.” You could ideally use a F.A.B. presentation format to describe your work history, expanding on what is summarized on your resume, or do like most other people and recite your resume and tell them (yawn) what they already know. Do you recognize the power of a F.A.B. presentation? Similarly, if you have a spontaneous opportunity to meet someone, at a trade show, a job fair or wherever; if you have a technical background, for example, and by chance met Bill Gates or anyone else influential in a business sector and they said hello; what would you say, what could you say? Would you stumble for words, only to kick yourself in hindsight about what you wish you could have said? Learning this kind of presentation is something into which you’ll invest the time once, and then you are never at a loss when an opportunity presents itself. 

But in order for any of this to be effective, it requires practice. When you write it, do so in the same manner in which you speak, so when you memorize it sounds natural and doesn’t sound scripted or robotic. It should be in a conversational tone. You’ll need to practice and rehearse it, sharpen and reduce it  to the point at which you can do it calmly and confidently, within 20 – 30 seconds if necessary, without sounding rushed. Remember, you are not reciting your career history, simply an introductory presentation with your best career and ability highlights. You want to present enough to generate interest; you can provide details at any resulting meeting. And don’t just read it, learn it and recite it out loud. I recommend the best way to do this is to stand in front of a mirror or role play with someone willing to help you. This method also prevents you from stumbling and tripping over words that come out faster than you can formulate them, and yet, you’ll be ready on the spot, shifting gears without much stress. Trust me, to do this effectively is often more time consuming and difficult than writing a resume, but it is worth it. A decent resume is important, but the impression you leave in person trumps the scant moments someone glances at a piece of paper.  

Yet another good tip for improving your presentation skills is to voice record yourself and play it back. Most people are surprised as to how they sound when recorded. This may seem like a lot of effort, and it is, but being able to accomplish and master it will notably set you apart from others. Don’t be caught off guard with not much more to say than, “…um, uh it’s nice to meet you.”  

So now, when you have your moment to speak to a hiring manager, you’ll have something to say. Next time let’s talk about making it happen. Meantime, get going and assemble your F.A.B., then invest some time – practice. Next time we’ll finish this topic with a few additional considerations and, with something to say, we’ll get back to making contact with a hiring manager. 

(Part III will be posted on Monday) 

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