You had a job interview and you’re not sure if you conveyed that you’re the perfect candidate for the job.

You had a speech and you have no idea if you got your message across to your audience.

These gut wrenching feelings can leave us feeling frustrated and beating ourselves up for days.

How do you ensure you get your message across to your audience every time?

My friend, it’s time to use your ABCs? No, I’m not talking about the alphabet song – I’m talking about the  ABCs of making your message stick.

 

Analogies

An analogy is using two things that are different and showing how those topics can have the same relationship: One of the most famous analogies is from the movie Forrest Gump: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna to get.” Forrest Gump is comparing life to a box of chocolate.

Using analogies is a sure-fire way to stand out in your interview or presentation.

If using this in a job interview: Apply it to a major lesson you learned or to one of the questions they ask.

If using this in a presentation: Apply it to one of the main points of your presentation or a challenging concept so that it drives your message home.

 

Job Interview Example: Interviewer asks, “what is your weakness”? 

Getting up in front of people to talk makes me nervous. Public speaking has always been a challenge for me for as long as I can remember. To address this, I took two public speaking classes that have made a huge difference not only to my confidence, but also my delivery skills. I’m excited to continue learning and growing in this area.  Public speaking reminds me of a roller coaster… While you’re on it, you’re freaking out inside, but then you get off and you say to yourself “that wasn’t so bad after all”.

 

Public Speaking/Presentation Example: Your Topic is about the importance of feedback

I used to struggle with accepting constructive feedback. After hearing the same things over and over from people, I finally realized positive and constructive feedback are like peanut butter and jelly – we need both to make a great sandwich. Both positive and constructive are essential for growth and for people to enjoy being around me.

As you can see, analogies are a great way for YOU to stand out and bring in your sense of humor. And it makes you more memorable.

Start with one and see how it goes!

 

Body Language 

“What you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson”

After you leave an interview, meeting or speech. People will remember what they saw more than what they heard. The candidate who never smiled, checked their phone, rarely made eye contact.  This, in turn, gets translated into a feeling they have about you. In addition to your voice, your facial expressions and body language are great tools to making your message stick.

Next time you watch your favorite TV or movie character, pay deep attention to their facial expressions and body language – you can see how they match their body with their words.

The good news is this is something you can practice on a daily basis. You can practice matching body language to your emotions. The bigger the audience and space, the bigger the movements should be.

 

Clear and Concise

“Too many speakers try to get across too much information in too little time”. 

This is a quote that Craig Valentine, Toastmasters Public Speaking World Champion, says often and it is crucial to making your message stick in a job interview or any presentation.

I can’t tell you how many times people have lost me with the simple question “Tell me about yourself” because they include too much information. To be fair, this question is simple on the surface, but it’s one of the most tricky questions out there. So much that my friend, Holley Murchison, wrote a book called Tell Me About Yourself. Holley dives into how to have artful conversations with anyone about who you are. It’s a great read!

 So how do we make sure we are clear and concise in our messages and stories?

  • Reflect on your objectives and how you want to position yourself in the upcoming situation. When you think about how you want to position yourself, also think about what information you can share to most connect with the listener(s) based on their needs and wants. 
  • Understand the context and your audience (i.e if you’re in an interview, understand what is really being asked by the interviewer). Being clear and concise does not mean be boring – you still want to tell your stories and answer your questions in a way that’s engaging and makes people want to hear more of what you have to say next. Knowing what information to keep in and what to take out comes from understanding the context and your audience.
  • Practice your message and stories with people you trust and with people you don’t know as well. This will give you a wide range of insightful feedback and you’ll realize where you lose people.  

Leadership expert, John Maxwell says, “To keep communication uncomplicated, leaders quickly get to the point, use plain language, and repeat their primary message.”

Whether you have the official title of a leader or not, you are a leader. You lead yourself everyday to greatness. When you’re in a job interview, a meeting or giving a presentation, your job is to get others to follow your ideas, thoughts and answers.