Charm, or You Had Me at Hello

I received a few questions after a talk last week. Any excuse to work charm into an answer is very welcome.

Q: So many times I have been in interviews where my teammates seem to feel that they need to present their level of related knowledge, rather than make the effort to connect the dots. 

A: A facilitator – such as a marketing expert or the CEO/President – is in the best position to gently move people away from displaying knowledge and toward the promised land of making three compelling points that are properly supported. This in turn comes from our understanding of the client, the project, and the competition, which requires research beforehand.

Q: How to get around this expectation of the interviewers to see “THE” solution in 30 minutes from people they’ve never spoken to before. What is wrong with these people and how can we get around that barrier in the first three minutes?

A: This is where charm comes in. Often a way to ease your way into their hearts is to make sure you understand the problem correctly. Literally: “We would like to start by reframing the problem you’re having here at XYZ campus. It’s entirely possible that things have changed or that we don’t have the complete picture, so with your permission [this is key, you want to get them nodding along], let’s review the acute facilities situation at XYZ campus.”

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