Okanagan Panorama

How can I be a sharp communicator?

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My mind thinks really quickly but my mouth seems to be really slow at choosing words to say and speaking. It's really affecting my interviews as people think I'm slow and dunce. Is their a way to at least give the impression of being a quick and sharp communicator?

As originally answered on Quora.com ...

Tongue TiedThe best way to give the impression that you are quick and a sharp communicator is to actually become one.

Before I get started though, I want to comment on your desire to be ‘quick.’ There is no rule in life or communication saying that you have to be quick thinking. Many great leaders and communicators give thought before they answer. They aren’t necessarily slow thinking, its just that it is important to them to give a response that is of value. There is an old saying that goes “its better to keep your mouth shut and let them to think you stupid, then it is to open it and prove the point.” Being quick thinking and quick speaking can be appropriate at times and inappropriate at others.

Being quick thinking can be a symptom of nervousness. When we are under stress, for whatever cause, our body goes into a flight/fight response. It is preparing our body to take action. Our brain and our mind are equally as affected. A job interview scenario can evoke the same response. Our thinking speeds up, yet our mouth can’t match its speed. Nor should it.

It is an age old question … are you in charge of your mind or is your mind in charge of you? I think the answer is both. The trick is in learning different methods to control your mind. Currently, your mind is in charge of you. In responding to questions as experienced in a job interview, your mind is in control of you and it doesn’t appear to be working for you.

Now to take control of your mind takes some work and practice. Here is a list of suggestions on how to do so, not in any order of precedence:

  1. Analyze the question: You should analyze any question that is posed to you. What are they saying? Are there any hidden parts to the question that you don’t know about? Is this a trick question, could they be looking to see how I answer the question rather than what I am saying? Are there any hidden parts to this question that I should know about?
  2. Strategize a response: As in any good speech or presentation there should be an opening, body and closing. Your response should contain those elements. Interview questions are designed to test your knowledge on particular subjects as well as to test your ability to think and act under pressure. In strategizing your response you need to act upon the data you collected in #1 when you analyzed the question. Your response should be organized and coherent, not rambling and should be delivered in a manner that makes you look good.
  3. Mind control: I couldn’t think of another title here but the gist is connecting mind and mouth. North Americans are reported to speak at around 125 to 150 words per minute. If we speak faster, as we would if we are trying to speak more enthusiastically we would likely reach 200-225 words per minute. The problem is that we would likely lose our audience. They wouldn’t be able to process some of our ideas before you move on the next item. Our mind, on the other hand, can speak from 1000 words to 2000 words per minute. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and at many times we have pictures flash through our minds. So perhaps we actually speak in our minds at many thousands of words per minute. The skill development needed is to put a throttle on the speed limit of the mind and the capability of the tongue to get your message across.
  4. Practice makes perfect: Actually it doesn’t! To become a better communicator and in turn a better job candidate, it takes practice. If you keep practicing the same thing over and over again you are likely repeating the same mistakes and getting better at making the mistakes. The secret is practice with constructive feedback. You can get this by joining a local Toastmasters club. Almost every role that you take on in a club meeting is provided constructive feedback from a fellow member.
  5. Practice thinking and speaking: Impromptu speaking can be a great way to build your mind and tongue connection. Have somebody pose different questions to you and you in turn provide a response. Have the other person provide you with feedback as to how they think you answered the question and perhaps provide something that you may have added.
  6. Predict and Practice: When you are going to interview for a job, you can predict that certain questions will be asked. Write a list of all the possible questions that you think might be asked and prepare responses for them. A quick Google search will likely give you lots of questions. Being prepared will help control your nervousness and in turn slow down your delivery.
  7. Research speech delivery: Here are some urls for questions that I have already answered here on Quora that relate to speaking that should be of help to you:

https://www.quora.com/How-can-I-be-a-more-assertive-speaker/answer/Rae-Stonehouse

https://www.quora.com/Does-visualization-help-us-to-improve-our-public-speaking-skills/answer/Rae-Stonehouse

https://www.quora.com/How-do-you-find-the-ideal-speed-for-speaking-to-a-public/answer/Rae-Stonehouse

https://www.quora.com/How-can-a-timid-person-with-no-oratory-skills-and-having-fear-of-stage-start-in-order-to-become-a-good-public-speaker/answer/Rae-Stonehouse

https://answersbyraestonehouse.quora.com/How-can-I-build-the-art-of-public-speaking-in-myself

https://answersbyraestonehouse.quora.com/How-can-I-overcome-my-fear-of-public-speaking

https://www.quora.com/I-have-been-told-to-prepare-a-presentation-on-any-topic-of-my-choice-for-a-job-interview-What-kind-of-topic-should-I-choose/answer/Rae-Stonehouse

https://answersbyraestonehouse.quora.com/How-do-I-deliver-a-good-impromptu-speech

https://answersbyraestonehouse.quora.com/How-do-I-overcome-social-anxiety

One final comment. You say “It's really affecting my interviews as people think I'm slow and dunce.” You can’t control how other people think about you. Unless they have actually said that out loud to you, it is only your mind putting you down. Sig Sigler calls it “stinkin thinkin!” Being successful in any endeavour and certainly when interviewing for a job, requires going in with a positive attitude. Doing some personal skill development as described in this answer will not only help you with your job interviews but will likely open up opportunities in life for you.

It works. I’ve done it and I have seen many others be successful in life when they have learned some new skills.

Thanks for the question and good luck in your future job interviewing.

Rae Stonehouse

Author Bio:

Rae A. Stonehouse is a Canadian born author & speaker. His professional career as a Registered Nurse working predominantly in psychiatry/mental health, has spanned four decades.

Rae has embraced the principal of CANI (Constant and Never-ending Improvement) as promoted by thought leaders such as Tony Robbins and brings that philosophy to each of his publications and presentations.

Rae has dedicated the latter segment of his journey through life to overcoming his personal inhibitions. As a 27+ year member of Toastmasters International he has systematically built his self-confidence and communicating ability. He is passionate about sharing his lessons with his readers and listeners. His publications thus far are of the personal/professional self-help, self-improvement genre and systematically offer valuable sage advice on a specific topic.

His writing style can be described as being conversational. As an author Rae strives to have a one-to-one conversation with each of his readers, very much like having your own personal self-development coach. Rae is known for having a wry sense of humour that features in his publications.

 

Author of Self-Help Downloadable E-Books, paperbacks and on-line courses:

 

Power Networking for Shy PeoplePower Networking for Shy People: How to Network Like a Pro

52 Power Networking Tips: How to Network Like a Pro

PROtect Yourself Now!PROtect Yourself Now! Violence Prevention for Healthcare Workers

The Savvy Emcee: How to be a Dynamic Master of Ceremonies.

Power of Promotion: On-line Marketing for Toastmasters Club Growth

You're Hired! Job Search Strategies That Work: Available as an easily downloadable e-book or as an on-line e-course.

You're Hired! Resume Tactics: Job Search Strategies That Work

Job Interview Preparation: Job Search Strategies That Work

Leveraging Your Network: Job Search Strategies That Work

You're Hired! Power Tactics: Job Search Strategies That Work

You're Hired! Job Searching Success Tips List

Working With Words: Adding Life to Your Oral Presentations

Blow Your Own Horn! Personal Branding for Business Professionals

Make it Safe! A Family Caregiver's Home Safety Assessment Guide for Supporting Elders@Home

 

Phone Rae 250-451-6564 or info@raestonehouse.com

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Copyright 2018- 2021 Rae A. Stonehouse.

The above document may be freely copied and distributed as long as the author’s name and contact info remain attached.

 

To learn more about Rae A. Stonehouse, visit the Wonderful World of Rae Stonehouse at https://raestonehouse.com.