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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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04/21/11
Storytelling. As part of presentations and interviews
Filed under: Interviewing, Mentoring, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 8:03 am

So many job seekers want to know: 
What questions will I be asked in an
interview?  What is the “right” answer?

In fact, interviews take on a life of their
own, if they morph into a pleasant conversation
going beyond the basic- “why are we here”
function in interview settings.

Stories accelerate this process of a conversion
from a Q&A session to a pleasant conversation.

LINK YOUR STORY TO CONCEPT
P. Gordon and I held a planning meeting for
an upcoming event and he broached the
subject of storytelling as a tool to evoke key
elements of the topics we wished to cover.
Each of us identified with situations and
stories that we shared.  Nonetheless, we needed
to reveal “purpose” behind each story. 

We decided that we would do this to cover
topics and partner with each other, one as
storyteller, the other as “clear-eyed concept
advocate.”

MAKE YOUR STORY BELIEVABLE
When you wish to point out a particular key competence
paint a word picture that shows the result (STAR
situation-task-action-result) or implication (SARI
situation-action-result-implication).  Clothe the bare
bones with enough significant detail that supports,
relives some cues, offers some observations or
colors in the picture.

Have the story stay on the track of the response
and elaborate a combination of I-M-I-A, your
intellectual skills, what motivates you, your interpersonal
and information organizing abilities and your
attitude that shows you would fit in.

TIMING YOUR STORIES
Have a set of anecdotes and ‘adjust your antennas’
to listen carefully while displaying body language
revealing your focus of attention and looking for
common ground and opportunities to ‘build on’ or
be ‘reminded of a situation’ that occurred to you.

STORY TELLING WATCH-OUTS
Two set-backs in story-telling are 1)”over qualifying
and 2) use of worn-out cliches
1) I am ‘fairly good at…..’
2) Cliches are lazy shortcuts that assume common
knowledge.  If done uniquely, it can spice up a
conversation.  If done too frequently, it dilutes
the story.  [Select your audience for a cliche,
and manage your use.]

INTERVIEWING APPROACHES
Interviewers will commonly have an approach
and an agenda.  They will start with a set series
of questions and be willing to deviate or probe.
Don’t be surprised that you are posed emotionally
charged phrases, like ‘how did you feel…,’ ‘what
makes you upset…’, or ‘what surprised you about…’
Use these as springboards for stories that also
animate you, while mirroring the body language of
the interviewer. 

It does not have to be said, but
-  “but” means disregard everything I just said
in a sentence.
-  interviewers can ferret out things looking ‘too good
to be true.’  So honesty is the best policy.

One Response to “Storytelling. As part of presentations and interviews”

  1. site admin Says:


    Like Kurt Vonnegut, story telling is formulaic!
    See:

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