Sitting in a Coney Island, reading a book, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation taking place at a table a few spots over from me. (I’ve confessed before that I have a history of eavesdropping — especially in airports, back when I was Platinum with Delta.)
At first, I couldn’t tell if it was a sales meeting or a job interview. (By the way, my advice would be quite similar for both.) Anyway, the man “selling” was dominating the conversation. At times, I wasn’t sure how he was breathing, since he was stringing so many words together in a rapid-fire manner. The other man was either a good listener or lacked the energy to compete with the first guy.
Since we were at a local diner, I decided to get the waitress involved by asking if she knew them, and explaining why I was curious. Without me asking, she decided to hover near their table to see if she could figure it out, and then reported back. Can you imagine being my waitress? I even told her that I was going to write a blog about this episode.
Here are my takeaways:
- Whether you’re attempting to sell a product or service, or interviewing for a job, please ask some questions of the other person. Prepare some well-thought-out questions that let the other person know you did your homework and are really interested in them.
- Don’t dominate the conversation. Pick your spots, but draw them out, too.
- Because of my vantage point, I could see that the “talker” was making very limited eye contact. He was looking around the restaurant as he spoke, or down at the table, but rarely at his companion. When someone is telling a lie, it’s hard for them to look you in the eye. So, hypothetically, was this guy making up stories?
- His volume was very high (I should talk). That’s why I heard him from across the restaurant to begin with. Be aware of your volume.
- At one point, the talker was telling a story and said “The Wife.” Seriously! And this was supposedly when he was on his best behavior? Not on my team!
OK, now I feel better.
BTW, if you’re interviewing and would like to practice, I would be happy to help you get ready (no charge).