The Winning Difference, Beyond Words
Selection committees use interviews to learn more about your team. The following skills can help your team be more effective and engaging during the interview.
Getting on the short list means you are qualified. So are all the other firms that have been invited to present. Interviews offer the selection committee something the SOQ can’t provide -- an opportunity to hear from, interact with and have a conversation with your team. The interview also helps the panel get a feel for who they might work with.
The effectiveness of any communication is influenced by both the message as well as the messenger(s). While both will have an impact on whether or not you are selected, many firms spend a majority of their interview preparation time just outlining the message.
After a couple of run-throughs, they go to the interview. One person may go off on a tangent that takes the team off-track, wasting valuable minutes. Another team member may be so uncomfortable and nervous that he doesn’t seem like himself and he becomes frustrated that he can’t get the right words out. The unfortunate result of this scenario? The panel doesn’t hear the intended message and they don’t really get to meet your team.
Remember, your panel will be hearing a lot of information from several well-qualified firms. Therefore, both the content and the delivery need to be highly memorable. To stand out, the message has to be powerful and your team members must get the message across in a way that is effective and engaging.
But does the messenger really matter?
I was leading a workshop for a large construction firm and posed the following question: Let’s say you are interviewing two prospective project managers: John and Marcus. Both have the experience and qualifications you are looking for. Both are creative problem-solvers. Both could get the job done. In your opinion they are equally qualified. You have one spot: Who gets it? What makes the difference?
One estimator responded, “I’d pick the one I like best, the one I want to work with. The one I like and trust more.” Bingo!
We all want to work with people we like and trust and your panel is no different. So beyond the words, how can you help the panel feel you are the right choice?
Confidence: Winning teams have tremendous self assurance in their capabilities without appearing arrogant. There is a visible pride in the company they represent.
Competence: Have you really done your homework? Do you know what really matters to this client on this job? Have you taken the time to understand the important features of the project? Have you come up with creative solutions to potential challenges?
Credibility: Relevant experience on comparable projects illustrates that a firm is capable of managing the critical elements of the job.
Caring: Winning firms appear team-oriented, hard-working, passionate and proud of the work they do. They seem genuinely interested in being part of project, as well as working with the owner and stakeholders to make it a success.
Connection: I recently conducted an in-house training program for a national Architecture firm based in Indianapolis. At the beginning of the session, the CEO posed this question to his team: “What do clients tell us is the primary reason we don’t get selected? Answer: We just didn’t connect.” Are you truly connecting with the panel? Does your team seem like a connected, cohesive unit?
A Conversational Tone: I am not suggesting that your team aim to be polished, flawless presenters. They should however, appear natural and comfortable speaking. The panel should get the sense that the person speaking before them is the same person they will be talking to out in the field.
Enhancing presentation skills will help your interviews be more effective and engaging. You will stand out from the competition and your team members will feel better about their individual contributions.
Hilari Weinstein, president of High Impact Communication, is a consultant and presentation coach. She serves on the board of directors for the Arizona chapter of the National Speakers Association. Contact Hilari at 602-795-5400 or email@example.com. Visit her website at www.highimpactcommunication.com for more tips.
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