Below is an excerpt of the Storytelling chapter of Andrew LaCivita’s upcoming book. He is the CEO of milewalk and has begun a series of milewalk Business Books. This will be part of the inaugural book.

Storytelling

Say it so they get it. Say it so they remember it. Say it so they want it.

That phrase is simple. Remembering those eighteen words, which ought to be easy enough because most of them are the same, at a minimum provides you with a successful formula for the interview. (Don’t worry that in twenty minutes you won’t remember them. You can always highlight the line with a marker or use the nifty highlight feature if you’re reading this on an e-reader.) Until now, we’ve discussed some key techniques for preparing as well as exposed the critical factors for interviewing success. You are aware that your success hinges largely on your ability to accurately articulate your qualifications and fit for the organization as well as become a timeless memory for the interviewer. So how do you do that? It starts with your stories.

Make yourself sticky.

How do you get them to accurately interpret your comments and remember you as a great candidate? In 2007, brothers Chip and Dan Heath released a book called Made to Stick, with the byline highlighting why some ideas survive and others die. It is a fascinating book that reviews why some stories are memorable and others are not. I think everyone in the advertising field should have a copy of this book on her desk.

The book walks you through examples of selling a product or reliving stories for friends and highlights techniques to grab and keep people’s attention so they are alert, interested, and engaged. As I read the book, I started thinking about how these concepts applied to interviewing. There is no question you are selling yourself in the interview, so the analogy was an easy one to make. Because I believe that the requisites for a successful interview start with a clear understanding and creating a memorable, positive impression, I started using some of their conclusions as pointers when preparing candidates for interviews.

In summary, they determined through exhaustive research that “sticky ideas” had six key qualities. They were simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotional, and story-like. It seemed obvious to me. If a candidate wanted to convey an accurate picture of herself, engage the interviewer, and become memorable (in a good light, hopefully), she should structure her responses in a similar manner. This has become the central theme for me as a coach to the candidates as well as employers—I want to teach them how to say what they want to say, as opposed to teaching them what to say.

While I’ve used their conclusions and six qualities as a starting point for these techniques, I’ve realigned and refocused them in a manner that is more appropriate for interviewing purposes:

  • Keep It Short and Simple. Superfluous information hinders their ability to remember.
  • Capture and Keep Their Attention. They can’t remember you if they’re not listening.
  • Talk in Their Lingo. Speak in a language they understand.
  • Make Them Believe You. Use details to make yourself believable.
  • Get Them to Care. Highlight the benefit to the individual in addition to the company.
  • Get Them to Act. Engage the interviewer to play along and act on your behalf.


To view the complete excerpt click here.

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