By Marc Innegraeve
Whether you are dealing with a job interview, an interview to win a project or a journalist, you want to have the best possible contact with the interviewer. Here are 6 tips on how to master your connection with the person in front of you.
#1 Focus all of your attention to the interviewer
The interviewer is in front of you, not inside your head. Instead of focusing on your internal voice trying to memorise all the right answers, focus on the interviewer and their question instead. It will be so much easier to answer.
#2 You first communicate your emotions, subconsciously
How well you manage your emotions, will determine how well the interview will go. There are many different techniques within NLP to manage your emotions. Explore different ways and master those techniques that work best for you. If you train your internal dialogue before the interview with phrases like “I wonder how much he/she will like my answers”, instead of “I hope she/he doesn’t ask about …” you might even get some curiosity from both sides.
#3 Answer to the question, not your interpretation of the question
We all interpret what we hear and we filter all information that comes in. Our filters can change the questions easily into what we think the interviewer asked. If that happens, we will be answering the wrong question and loose connection. Be aware of your deletions, distortions and generalisations – your filters – and those of the interviewer. You can learn to recognise these filters and mostly it is a matter of attention to what the other person really says.
#4 Stop mirroring your interviewer's posture on purpose
It just looks silly and the interviewer might think you are trying to manipulate them. When there is real rapport, the mirroring will come by itself.
#5 Focus on elegantly matching voice and breathing instead
If your interviewer speaks fast, you will have to speak fast to connect. If your interviewer speaks slow, you will have to speak slow. The way they speak will also match their breathing. So when you match their rate of breathing, you will automatically match their rate of speaking. Training your breathing and taking up some voice coaching can help you gain more control over this.
#6 It's important to sit in an angle with your interviewer
Never sit straight in front of your interviewer if you can. It limits your view on the other person and it limits your subconscious to pick up those subtle cues of connection. Most people process their thoughts right in front of them, and you don’t want to be in those of your interviewer, specifically if it’s a negative thought. I always teach my clients to be under a 45 degrees angle with their interviewers.
Are you still having trouble connecting to your interviewer? Then before taking any interviews, start training on managing yourself and your emotions or take up some coaching. As we said before, the first and most important thing you communicate to anyone are your emotions.
Oh, and did we tell you to be genuine? If your rapport with your interviewer is good, they will be able to tell when you are telling the truth and when you are lying!
By Marc Innegraeve
Not long ago I received an unusual request from a friend who is a manager in a subsidiary of a large corporation. One of his staff members kept repeating to him that he – the staff member – was nothing but a failure. The staff member did make mistakes, but not more than any other of the team members. It wasn’t a problem of attention seeking either. This staff member genuinely had a big problem with the mistakes he made. The manager asked me – as a request from a friend – if I could give him a hint on what to say tot his employee. So I came up with these 10 quotes.
“Remember the two benefits of failure. First, if you do fail, you learn what doesn't work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.” Roger Von Oech
“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? Double your rate of failure...” Thomas J. Watson
“Try not to be a man of success but a man of value.” Albert Einstein
“Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” George S. Patton
“Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
“If you enjoy the process, it's your dream. ... If you are enduring the process, just desperate for the result, it's somebody else's dream.” Salma Hayek
“Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas A. Edison
“The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” Michelangelo
“If you wait until all the lights are ‘green’ before you leave home, you'll never get started on your trip to the top.” Zig Ziglar
“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” Theodore Roosevelt
I ended my note to the manager with a question and dilemma to ask to his staff member: What if – with everything you do – you tried to fail?
A couple of weeks later I got feedback from the manager. The quotes were obviously not a ready-made solution, but give him a base to discuss with his staff member. They talked things through based upon these quotes, and the staff member was doing much better, gaining self-confidence and producing much better results.