In speech classes they will teach you some basic techniques for giving a speech. Most include a preparatory statement, describing the subjects to be covered, an attention getter, and a conclusion. You will find many situations that these techniques will help you. Teaching a class, speaking to a group, conducting a business meeting. But they do not apply to an oral interview.

I had a medic come by the station one day, he was the friend of our firefighters and we were going to help him out. He had taken a number of tests, and while qualified, he wasn’t getting any offers. The first question was “Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?” His reply was, “Hi I’m Bill and I like steak”. My firefighter and I exchanged looks and I asked if he really was saying that in his interviews. He said yes, he started every interview that way. It was his attention getter. His speech teacher helped him come up with it.

He was told you always want to start off with a statement that will get their attention and that way they will remember you. I assured him that they remembered him. You really don’t want to try and be funny, cute or make a statement in your interview. The average interview doesn’t last all that long and you don’t want to waste time.

If your interview is 30 minutes and they ask 10 questions, that averages to three minutes per question. If you include all of the techniques covered in speech classes, you would have a large portion of you interview tied up in preparatory statements, and conclusions. I would hope you have enough good things to say about yourself, that you don’t want to waste the time. It also changes the flow of an interview. If we ask you a question, we want you to give us the answer, in the most simple form, not start into a complex dissertation that takes too much time and doesn’t increase you score.

Don’t get me wrong, speak classes and speaking at the Toastmaster’s are great things, you should do anything you can to get more comfortable speaking in front of others. But the style of a public speaker is not what you want to brink to your interview. You want to bring you to your interview, and no class can teach you that.

While you should take every chance to speak in front of others, remember the style that they teach you may not be what fits best into an interview situation

Good Luck, Captain Rob

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