Professionals who answer a question with content that excessively explains the rational or circumstances behind their actual point are not considered great communicators. Xtra Effort has seen many high quality and capable professionals not reach a sale, job, promotion, or adequate client satisfaction because their answer’s best content is lost among other non essential information.
Question: “How did you secure the Citi account?”
Answer: “I always knew a lot about financial service operations, the banking industry has been plagued with security concerns for years, our technology could easily be deployed without a lot of professional services, we secured a meeting with their CSO, and discovered they were considering IBM for end point security. We learned that previous enterprise security technology deployments at Citi were unsuccessful because of clumsy installation procedures, and then built and ROI around the time savings of automated installation of endpoint security. IBM could not provide the same level of automation or ROI. We secured the business.”
What content in the above answer is most compelling? I would suspect you agree it’s the italic content. Why not lead with the most compelling aspect of your answer?
Practice: try having a friend or family member ask you five open ended questions from a list of 10. Be sure you don’t put advance thought into the answers.
Use a clock and voice recorder (smart phone) to record your answers. Time yourself, listen to your answers, and repeat the exercise to see if you can reduce the time to answer the question, while also having your answer LEAD WITH THE MOST IMPORTANT CONTENT FIRST, and then – if necessary – provide supporting rational, thoughts, and examples.
This exercise will be good for not only for interview preparation, but for all professional interaction.