Everyone has butterflies in an oral board. The trick is getting all the butterfly's to fly in the same formation. Practicing will remove up to 75% of the butterflies. You want the other 25% to carry you through the interview.
What tools can you use to practice and rehearse your oral board answers? Right, a video camera. You need to see how you look in action. But you are trapped with a video camera. Mirror? Sure standing in front of a mirror is good. But you are missing the most valuable tool of all. A hand held tape recorder.
I received a call from one of our candidates. He has made it to a few oral boards and one chiefs oral without success. He has been invited to the San Diego oral board and wanted to set up a private coaching session. In just a few moments I was aware of something critical. Then I asked him if he was using a tape recorder to practice? Like most people (99.7%), he himmed and hawwwed and finally said, "Well, no. But, I'm thinking about it."
Even though he bought our Entry Level audio/video tape program that hammers and hammers the point home that you have to use a tape recorder and hear how you sound. He still didn't get the message. His answers were garbage. Many applicants want this job so bad they will do almost anything ethically and morally to get it. I guess that doesn't include using a tape recorder to get your timing, inflection, volume, where to cut out material, get rid of the an's uh's and other pause fillers. Or to find out if you really sound like Donald Duck. You need to get married to your hand-held tape recorder. You need to hear what the oral board is going to hear out of your mouth. It's the closest distance between you and the badge you're looking for!
What is the first thing a candidate says when he hears his voice on a tape recorder? Yep. That's not me. Yes it is McFly. You need to get married to a hand held tape recorder and practice with it everywhere you go.
This is usually a guy thing. Guys think about their answers in their head and write them down. Then they think their answers are going to come out of their mouths like magic in the oral. Trust me, after being on over 100 oral boards, they don't! The brain and the mouth don't work that way.
Try this. Take some 3X5 cards and write down your oral board questions. Practice your answer with the tape recorder. If you hear something you do not like when you play it back, turn over the 3X5 card and write it down. The next time you go after that question, turn over the card first and see what you don't want to say.
Let me tell you how critical this really is. If you're not using a tape recorder to practice, practice, practice, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse and over learn your material until it becomes second nature to you, YOU MIGHT AS WELL NOT SHOW UP FOR THE INTERVIEW. YOU ARE WASTING THE ORAL BOARDS AND YOUR TIME! Seek out another career. Understand you still have to interview there too. The above San Diego candidate has already lost some great opportunities. Had he been faithfully using a tape recorder to prepare for his oral boards, he probably could have had a badge already.
Some will say, "Well, if I practice it too much it will sound canned." NO it won't! It sure will be planned though. Practice makes permanent. "Luck is where preparation meeting opportunity." One practice session with a tape recorder is worth 10 speaking out louds. After practicing, you will get to a point where your answers will get into your subconscious. That's where the magic begins. You can't be fooled.
We think practicing with a tape recorder is so important; we will not do private coaching with a candidate if they aren't using one. It is a waste of our time and their money.
How would you like to get ahead of the curve with the cutting edge interview skills to get that badge? Then you want to sign up to receive Fire "Captain Bob's" exclusive information rich FREE e-mail FireZine Newsletter by clicking here.
Fire "Captain Bob" Smith has coached countless entry-level and promotional candidates to get their badge. Over 2,000 candidates have received their badges from this program. He is a retired, 28-year veteran firefighter from Hayward, Calif. Captain Bob is a well-known speaker, author of the audio/video program "Conquer the Job Interview" and the books "Eat Stress For Breakfast" and "Fire Up Your Communication Skills." He is a member of the prestigious National Speakers Association. You can book him as a speaker or get a copy of his books and tapes by calling toll free at 888-238-3959. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Web site: www.eatstress.com