On February 5, PSGCNJ was happy to have career coach Alex Freund give his “3 Cutting Edge Communications You Can’t Afford to Ignore” presentation to everyone. The 3 cutting edge communications he was referring to were “Tell me about yourself,” “The Elevator Pitch,” and “The Value Proposition.” Let’s take a closer take a closer look at each of them.
Tell Me About Yourself
Alex said this was typically the first question in the interview because the interviewer wants to form an initial impression — a starting reference point. They need to see how you communicate with them.
- Are you brief or are you lengthy?
He said being too long isn’t too good because you don’t know what frame of mind the interviewer is in or how much he or she is willing to listen to.
- Are you focused or very general?
The interviewer is evaluating you and what you’re talking about.
How do you communicate with your body language? The handshake leaves a first impression. He also said to never show your back to the interviewer when you walk in. You want to be friendly and nice. Also how you sit, how you look, and the tone of your voice also communicates things. Are you soft or are you loud when you communicate things? You want to maintain your tone of voice so that the interviewer can at least hear you. He also said the interviewer can tell when you speak with confidence, and it’s necessary to make a positive impression during the interview.
He said every interview question has 2 components – what you hear and what the interviewer is trying to find out. That part is hidden. When they say “tell me about yourself” it relates to your ability to solve their problem. It’s not about your personal past or your career progression.
The correct answer is a 5-step format:
- Summarize in one or two sentences what makes you professional
- title, department size, area of responsibility, scope of work.
- Provide a concrete example of a success story that ends with recognition by a third influential party. For example, a supervisor, top leader or customer.
- At this point, ask the interviewer about his or her priorities. By asking this question you turn the interview from an interrogation to a professional dialogue. You need to find about ASAP what bothers them.
- Assume the interviewer’s answer indicates the need for someone to reduce cost by a certain percent, for example.
- You answer to his or her need with a relevant success story.
The Elevator Pitch
Alex says the purpose of the elevator pitch is to initiate a dialogue and from there develop a relationship. It is not about saying how amazing you were in your professional past. It has to be 20 seconds or less and because of the time constraints, it is a challenge. Communicate who you are, what you do and what you are looking for at minimum. It’s both what you say and how you say it. You need to communicate something impactful to the audience, and practice it till it seems natural.
The Value Proposition
In the marketplace you’re a product, and you need to be clear what your values are. You have to do a self-assessment.
The value proposition requires answers to 4 questions:
- What is it that you do?
- Who are the customers that you support?
- What value do your customers obtain from you?
- What do your customers perceive as advantageous and unique to you?
Your value proposition has to be consistent everywhere.
Alex ended his presentation by talking about a class he’s teaching starting on February 13th via the Princeton Adult School. The class meets on Tuesdays from 7 to 9 pm — five consecutive weeks. The whole course is coaching with him, and you can find out more information on his website.
— Melanie Chima
Alex Freund is known as “the landing expert,” and can be found at www.thelandingexpert.com