I sat, I blogged, I loved it … after it was done.
Kind of a take-off of my tag line, but true to life. The first post in this series may have been the toughest post I’ve ever done, but this one feels like it’s going to be easier, because the work’s already started, so I may as well finish.
That’s what kills more good ideas, and people, than any other variable – Getting started or taking action.
So let’s get more meat on the table and see if we can find any more nuggets of gold in my coal mine mind.
10 – Practice ! Talk out loud to yourself around the house or when you’re driving.
I drive 200-350 miles a day, 3-5 days a week, so I get a lot of time to listen to mp3′s of teleseminars, interviews and the like, but nothing works as well for me as having time to conduct the interview, out loud, answering my own questions, while zippin’ around the highways and byways of Kentucky.
Think about it. If you know in advance the questions you’re going to ask, you can practice the delivery and even practice what the interviewee will say and try out some follow up questions.
Try it tomorrow and then come back here and let me know what you think or how it worked for you.
11 – Be open about yourself. Nobody likes a perfect person. Nobody.
And you ain’t perfect anyway, you just like to think you are.
Let go of some of your personal likes and dislikes, some of your quirks and maybe even a little TMI, every now and then and those who follow you will bond a little deeper and spend a little more, time and money, with you.
12 – Overcome your shyness to keep from making a shy mess.
Larry says, ” The best way I’ve found to overcome shyness is to remind yourself of the old saying that the person you’re talking to puts his pants ( or skirt ) on one leg at a time. “
There’s really no reason to put anybody on a pedestal so high that you can’t tap ‘em on the shoulder and whisper in their ear, as far as I’m concerned.
Even the Emperor needed to be told he had no clothes and you can’t tell ‘em if you can’t reach ‘em.
13 – Enjoy the conversation. That’s all an interview really is – a conversation.
Pretend it’s an old friend, a favorite teacher, a trusted advisor, whatever you need to imagine, but find some way to talk with a faint smile on your face, because that’s a sign of comfort, confidence and closeness.
Those three C’s will make your guest feel like a friend and friends always enjoy talking with friends.
14 – Avoid Questions that can be answered Yes or No – they’re a conversation killer. It’s not that hard to rephrase a question to enable an answer that’s worth hearing.
Hearing a yes or no, most of the time, means you were lazy in assembling the question.
Practicing the questions, like in Secret #10, will help you avoid this situation.
You listenership will drop you like a hot rock in a heatwave if you ask questions like this often enough.
15 – Be prepared. Have your notes ready, but listen to the answers, like in Secret #7 and jump on any opening like a duck on a junebug.
Sure, it’s your job as the professional to be ready and stay on track, but there are times when you hear something that has to be followed up on, even if the next question might get lost in that shuffle.
If I’m interviewing, let’s say Donald Trump, and he intimates that he could give me a tip that would enable me to retire with $5 million in 3 years, if I was interested, I’m going after that secret and the next question in line be damned !
16 – Realize that, especially with someone you don’t know well, there are some topics that are taboo. For example, salary, how much they have in the bank, if they have tattoo’s or piercings, if they’re pregnant, etc.
Like my friend Clint says, ” A man’s gotta know his limitations. ”
And you, as the interviewer du jour, must know the limitations to your interview … or have a good lawyer !
17 – Stay informed. Know what’s going on in the day’s news and what’s going on in the world. To be a really good interviewer, you have to be able to converse about what’s on the other person’s mind, not be willing to tell them about what’s on yours.
All day long I deal with people who don’t know about anything outside of what’s on TV that night and what’s happening in their little, bitty lives.
You, as the Interview King in waiting ( did you catch that ? ), must be well read and widely engaged.
You should read a local newspaper, the USA Today and another nationally circulated daily each and every day. Several magazines, books off the Best Seller lists and some trade magazines should also be part of your monthly regimen of reading.
How can you do that ? Turn off the TV sitcoms and keep the weekly series, like my beloved Survivor, to a minimum of one or two hours per week … not per day.
18 – Remember that ” Why ? “ is the greatest question ever asked. Bar none. My man Larry say’s it’s the simplest and surest way to keep a conversation lively and interesting.
Don’t believe it ? Try this:
Mike: I love watching Survivor ?
Larry: Really ? Why is that ?
Mike: Because I think if I played, I’d win.
Larry: Really ? Why ?
Mike: Well, because of my Army training, my survival skills and my having been a salesman for two decades. I think I could manipulate the whole tribe like paper dolls.
Larry: You’re delusional !
So there’s Secrets 10 thru 18, with numbers 19 thru 27 to follow. I fully intend to prove to Mr. Copyblogger himself that I can finish what I start, have the skills to play like the big boys and am an all-around good guy.
Brian Clark: You’re delusional !
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