Thursday, October 23, 2008

Presidential Interviewing Tips

OK. Usually I don’t make recommendations about programs.

Having said that, Senator John McCain needs to take the Dale Carnegie High Impact Presentations program.

I just saw a part of John McCain / Sarah Palin interview with Brian Williams.

The one activity I found very distracting was that Senator McCain kept playing with his hands.

I know that some would consider this almost sacrilegious. Afterall, how can I find fault with a U.S. Senator who's had more time speaking on the senate floor than I've been alive (well, almost).

But Senator McCain put his pants on the same way I do: one leg at a time.

And he is doing the same thing I used to do before taking the High Impact Presentations program.

He was fidgeting, playing with his ring, his fingers kept clasping and releasing… It was distracting.

In contrast, Sarah Palin kept her hands still and in her lap. By doing so, she appeared more relaxed and in control than he did.

One of the speaking projects that we work on in the program is how to conduct yourself in interviews with the press, or maybe with a future boss.

Even when you are sitting, you still have to be mindful of what message your physical presence conveys. You have to be mindful of what your hands are doing and what your face is doing.

Here are a few points to consider:

  1. Keep your hands still and in your lap. It’s OK to keep them crossed as long as they are free to be used quickly when you need them. In contrast, clasping them makes it difficult to use them when you need them. And many people will take it as a sign of inward stress.


  2. Keep your facial expressions in check and use them strategically. Is a look of shock a good thing? Depends on the kind of message you want to send. However, most of us aren’t aware of what our face is doing until we see it on a video replay. Overall, a smile will probably work just find to keep things neutral and engaging.


  3. Watch your eye movements. What kind of message does rolling your eyes send? Do you want to send that message? What kind of message does looking up and away from your interviewer send and do you want to send it? Overall, looking at your interviewer is fairly generic, neutral and engaging. Again, many people will assume that diverted eyes convey a lack of truthfulness.

If you want more tips on what to do when you are on the receiving end of an interview, or for that matter on the giving end of an interview, talk to one of our specialists about the High Impact Presentations program. Or create your account on Manta.com and discover how these tips relate to the sales process.

Happy interviewing.

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