Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Claim the Job

Another inspiration from The New York Times business section: This time a man hunting for another job describes his transformation from question-answerer to question-asker.

His interpretation of the change is that he became more assertive. True. My interpretation is that he recognized that he had more power, and therefore more responsibility, in a job interview than he had thought.

A job interview may be conducted one-on-one, but it nevertheless involves many aspects of public speaking.

Claim the job, just as you would claim the stage. In the interviewer’s mind, the subject of the meeting is the company and its needs and how well you fit both. Too often, the interviewee thinks the subject of the meeting is him or herself.

Do I need to say that when the speaker and the audience are not in agreement in their expectations, they’re off to a bad start. I once talked three friends into attending a film that had been billed as a romantic thriller. So much blood and violence that one friend left the theatre, and I pulled my sweater up over my face and missed the crucial murder. No one would talk to me on the way home.

“When we claim . . . the job as our own, we begin to fall in love with it. We nurture it, care for it, give it our full attention. When we focus on our material, we find the courage to live through the anxiety of performance, and the drive to learn how to perform it well.” (Speak Up: The Public Speaking Primer (Press 53, 2010), p. 104.

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