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Use Public Speaking Skills to Ace Your Job Interview

Use Public Speaking Skills to Ace Your Job Interview

Lucy Cohen Blatter, amNewYork

July 29, 2010

To have a successful job interview, you’ll want to appear poised, calm and confident.

As CEO of Media Training Worldwide, TJ Walker coaches clients on how to speak to live audiences and the media.

Those same skills apply to job interviews, Walker said. “You want to look comfortable and relaxed. You want to be understood and, most importantly, you want your message remembered. You also want people to take action as a result.” Here are his tips:

1) Practice makes perfect. Walker suggested recording and watching yourself answering questions. “The technology is so easy that there’s no excuse for not doing it. Cell phones have recording devices,” he said.

2) Don’t panic if you don’t know an answer. If you’re thrown a curveball, answer calmly and confidently. Say you don’t know the answer and will get back to them. “If you seem calm and relaxed you’ll bridge it,” he said.

3) Be memorable. Walker said the most difficult question you’ll face is “What can you tell me about yourself?” “People tend to rehash their resumes, but that’s not memorable. Say something specific that will differentiate you and make the interviewers remember you in two weeks’ time,” he said.

4) Be specific. “People don’t remember abstractions,” Walker said. "Don’t say I’m a good manager of people, say, ’On my first day I had to hire 15 employees. ’ Be really specific and concrete. “Abstraction is your enemy in a speech and a job interview,” Walker said.

5) Enter with confidence. “I tell people to go into the interview as if you already have the job,” he said.

6) Familiarize yourself with the company. “The consistent thing about audiences is they care more about themselves than you. So the more you say about them, the better,” he said.

If you know the company’s launching a new product, Walker suggested doing a quick Facebook search. If they don’t have a fan page, suggest they create one. “Even if they don’t like the idea, it distinguishes you.”

7) Don’t ask HR questions right away. Don’t ask about salary, vacation time or benefits, etc., until you’re close to a deal. “Wait until at least the third interview,” Walker said.

To get to TJ Walker’s interactive interview training course, go to to

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