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I’ve witnessed a number of incidents over the past couple of weeks that led me to this topic.

The first was watching one of our local morning shows, where a self-proclaimed author, rapper and poet froze during his attempt to “Free style” on live television.  It was an epic failure and the episode was so funny it made its way into Jimmy Fallon’s monologue and is a hit on YouTube.

The second was the Ms. America pageant where we’re always guaranteed to have a contestant fumble over her words in answering that ONE and only ONE important question.  We all remember Miss Utah!!

The third event was during a Regional Workforce Development meeting yesterday where area HR Leaders from some of our largest organizations: Alabama Power, Children’s Hospital and Regions Bank shared their biggest challenge with job applicants – their failure to communicate, articulate, or simply answer basic questions.

Just like the incidents referenced, your big moment could occur during a job interview, your one question during the interview phase of a beauty pageant, a scholarship interview, a meeting with a bank representative or angel investor who could finance your new business or the once in a lifetime opportunity to appear on live television.

Assignment # 1 – Create an Elevator Speech

Know who you are and be able to articulate that by creating an elevator speech or personal infomercial.

No one can speak more accurately about you than you!!  However, you would be supervised at the number of people who freeze when asked that basic question – “Tell me about yourself.”

Take the time to write your personal infomercial.  This prepared statement will allow you to introduce yourself and tell the listener something special and exciting about you.  It should include your first AND last name, a quick statement about your experience and qualifications and end with “The Hook” – something interesting and unique about you that the listener will find hard to forget.

Assignment #2 – Do your research!

For planned meetings or interviews, research the topic or anticipated points of discussion.  While coaching a young lady this summer for a scholarship pageant in Shelby County – I created a list of 100 historical and current event questions that she would probably be asked during the interview portion of the event.  We rehearsed her responses to these questions over and over again – until she was blue in the face!!  Because we prepared in advance – she aced the interview.

Assignment #3 – Create a list of talking points.

Following your research, create a list of points you would like to make or discuss during the meeting, job interview or even during a live television or radio show.

One of my favorite PR professionals taught me to always prepare and stick to my talking points – especially if the interviewer has asked a question that I did not prepare for or find difficult to answer.  If you watch any of the Sunday morning news shows – you’ll see politicians are experts with this method.

Assignment #4 –  Role Play

Get in the mirror, record yourself using your tablet or smartphone, or get a friend or family member to role play with you to prepare for your big interview or meeting.

The words you state during this big moment should not be “Brand New” or the first time they have parted your lips.  Although your words should sound authentic and not recited like an Easter speech – they should be properly prepared to ensure that you communicate effectively.

Regardless of the setting for your “Big Moment” you should always be prepared before taking the seat or stepping to the mic.

In these real life events, there is no director to yell “Cut” and in most cases there is no 2nd chance to make a 1st Impression!!

Put in the work to ensure that the words coming out of your mouth benefit you and don’t make you the new You Tube sensation.

Melva Tate

The Career Coach

This business and career advice was shared during the September 28, 2013 Real Talk Radio Show.

Tune in every Saturday morning from 7am – 9am cst to interact with the Real Talk Crew – Power 102.1 WENN (Metro Birmingham area ) and on I Heart Radio.





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