How the power of ‘You’ can captivate your audience

Sep 20, 2010 by

Is the pitch ready? 

No, this isn’t yet another discussion on the sorry state of the turf at Wembley Stadium;  more of a challenge to see if you’re really ready for that moment when somebody asks you:

“So, what do you do then?’

“Why should I employ you?”

“You’ve got 30 seconds, impress me.”

These questions can arise in many different scenarios, and especially the first one which is standard social fare.  It may not matter too much when you’ve had a couple of glasses of Pinot Grigio or Fosters and your new neighbour asks, “So what do you do then?”  Or is it?  What if that new neighbour happens to be somebody who takes the decisions about who to hire and fire in the course of making their living?  

Less than 30 seconds to get a job – or lose one.

 “Why should I employ you?” and “You’ve got 30 seconds, impress me.” are clearly related to the job search and interviews, and are not uncommon questions, especially for telephone interviews.

Remember: a recruiter or HR Manager may well be sat with a pile of CVs on the desk.  If you’ve survived the first cull, that’s a great start, but there are no prizes for second place, let alone 9th or 10th, so you still need to impress and stand out from the others.  If you’ve succeeded in getting some interview time or plan doing any kind of networking, you should ask yourself this:

 “What do I do?”

This is a great opportunity to ask yourself this question and start to practise delivering a really effective and concise answer.

Annoying but true: practice makes perfect.

Do you wilt when the spotlight’s on you?  A polished delivery might require many takes, but practice will pay off.  Consider the two examples below:

Take #1

“So, why should I employ you then?”

“Err, well, um, err, because I think I’m an excellent production manager and I’m really enthusiastic and I’ll work really hard for you.”

Not a great answer.

Firstly, let’s think about the stuttering hesitation.  Most people actually suffer from this.  That’s why you’ll fly out of the blocks  if you can prepare yourself and avoid doing likewise.

Secondly, think about content.  Answers like the one above are egocentric, generic and vacuous.

Remember what we said about preparing CVs and cover letters? About personalizing and tailoring them? About the power of ‘you’?

Take #2

“So, why should I employ you?”

“Well, I understand from Louise at the recruitment agency and from reading your website and company reports that you need to make fundamental changes to your manufacturing operations and bring in leading edge lean methodologies in order to make significant efficiency improvements.  I have some great experience of that and can demonstrate some real and significant successes to you.  Would you like to hear more detail of those now?”

Clearly this response is tailored to a production management role but hopefully you can see that the philosophy applies to any role – and it all relates back to ‘the power of you.’

How to capture an audience in seconds in 3 easy steps with the power of ‘you’.

  1. Refer to the needs and requirements of the employer.
  2. Briefly state that you are very well placed to address those needs.
  3. Then ask if they would like to hear the detail of why you are so well placed.

What does this achieve?

Well, you’ve stroked the ego of the employer by referring to requirements and made it clear that you understand them.  You’ve stated that you are the solution to the problem.  And then you’ve re-engaged the interviewer by asking them a question that allows them to feel in control as they ask you to give them the detail that they need.  Oh yes, and you brought yourself some precious thinking time.

How can you achieve it?

The simple moral of this blog is this: be prepared.  Make sure that you are intimately familiar with the details of any job that you’ve applied for and prepare and practise your pitch so that you’re ready to demonstrate how you can solve a potential employer’s problem whenever you hear back from them.

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