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The Art of Biting One’s Tongue

The Art of Biting One’s Tongue

Teena Rose |

April 23, 2010

It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. If you keep your answers short, and bite that “flapper of a tongue,” you may actually land a job.

One of the most critical times to have poise while speaking is during an interview; and talking too much is one of the problems hirers note when asked to list their complaints about interviewees.

What if your tongue has a “mind” of its own?

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and found yourself distracted by the number of times a person separates their thoughts with “umm” or “do you know what I mean?”

Slang or conversation fillers (AKA bad speaking habits) have become habitual for some. These fillers oftentimes become prominent and too consistent during times of nervousness, much like an interview.

Solution: Become an active participant in critiquing and fixing your own speech. Concentrate on what comes out of your mouth while in relaxed, social settings, for example. That’s when you’ll find the most infractions.

Convincement and Its Side Effects

Too often job seekers walk into interviews “cold,” somehow thinking they can talk themselves into the job. Remember, it’s not about how much you speak, but the quality of what you say.

Job seekers could learn a lot from successful sales professionals who will tell you the sales process isn’t dominated by lengthy conversations intended to wear the prospect down, so they eventually give in and buy. Overselling one’s self can culminate into interview disaster, and job seekers who don’t know when to stop talking, can actually make HR managers run in the other direction, subsequently ruining the job seeker chances for new employment.

Solution: Create a list of potential interview questions and jot down your instinctual answers. Then, treat your instinctual answers as first drafts and proceed to writing more fine-tuned answers. Keep your answers tight, yet thorough. Fine-tune your answers several times, if you have to. To help with the process, and to ensure your answers meet the mark with employers, try following a situation, action, result (SAR) formula. For those answers where you can’t identify bottom-line results, highlight achievements generated by your team or department as a whole.

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