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People “hear” your personality

Q: I have an interview coming up and I never seem to do a very good job of describing experiences from the past; I seem to lose people. How can I become better at telling people about myself and why they should hire me?

A: If you are losing people when you are talking it might be how you are delivering your message that is getting in your way. A Stanford University study discovered that people “hear” personality in others’ voices when they talk. Meaning, the sound of your voice can influence others’ opinion of how they perceive you and consequently your chances of getting hired.

Have you ever noticed how much emotion you express when you share something that just happened versus sharing the same story a few months later? That is because the experience is fresh in your mind. In an interview, you are being asked to share experiences that happened in the past that are no longer fresh in your mind. Expressing the emotional content of your stories affects the tempo and tone of voice you are using, which is essential to successfully conveying the message and images you want to deliver.

Stephen D. Boyd, PhD, CSP, professor of speech communication at Northern Kentucky University said it well, “See in your mind the story you are telling. This will translate into your vocal quality. Train yourself to relive the story as you tell it and you will see a difference in your tone of voice.”

Before going to the interview, practice telling someone about a relevant experience related to your work. Remember to bring a picture into your mind of that time and what you felt like. In this way, your voice will better convey your story, demonstrating your enthusiasm, passion & strengths as a potential employee.

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