Its Time To Upgrade | Jeremy Bin
The dreaded silence. The moment when all the magic and happiness and chemistry dies. Whatever bond was built up to that point is all for nothing. We’ve all been there, the barren wasteland our social media has christened #thatawkwardmoment. It’s blown up to the point where WongFu Productions is making a line of soft toys off that very awkwardness.
Let’s shut it down.
You may be a veritable casanova, or you may think that talking is the worst use of human speech. Odds are tough, you’re pretty decent with your friends, you can make them laugh. But interviews, and all conversations with strangers and uncertain, where you might have something to lose, still makes your throat dry, your palms sweaty, your heart racing. Well let’s forget interviews for a second. My take is that all conversations are essentially the same. The better you are at talking, the better you are at life.
We’re not saying ‘bro what DOTA hero you like to use ah’ is a terrible conversation. Unless, that is, the person you’re talking to isn’t into DOTA at all. Our biggest problem is that the most stimulating conversations we have are niche topics – full of inside jokes and borderline abusive teasing that we take in stride. But what about strangers? Our goal is to take that vibe and reproduce it in every conversation we ever had, be it the first or billionth conversation we have with anyone. And we have 8 ways to do it.
1. Embrace the Silence
Sure, the silences we talk about are awkward, and we usually avoid them like the plague. A stimulating conversation is one that keeps on flowin-
No. If anything, silences can be even more stimulating than the conversation itself. Think, the moment where the music crescendos in your run of the mill rom-com, right before they kiss. The tension and chemistry is so thick the cinema stinks of pheromones, yet no one is saying a thing. At the right time, and as long as you feel the silence isn’t awkward, it can be amazing.
2. You Set the Tone
If you think you don’t want to be locked in that interview room with two men staring you down like their next meal, odds are they actually don’t want to be there too. The interviewer might have the ‘power’ in the room because you’re seeking something from them, but you are as much a stranger to them as they are to you. You can set the mood in the room, the tone of the conversation. And they will mirror it, if you project enough confidence.
This goes for every conversation you will ever have. If the way you act seems more natural and confident than the other side, you will be leading the conversation, and it will go how you want it to go.
At the same time, we need to add a caveat: you may not want to walk into the board meeting dressed as superman wearing your undergarment on the outside. As a social person, you have to read the room and fine-tune your approach to suit the – no two people are the same, after all.
3. Scripting Isn’t Taboo
We know – everyone bashes on the Pick-up Artist type that prepares his lines and patterns he uses to pick up girls like an oral presentation. But that’s not quite what we have in mind. Everyone has a few go-to stories, your top 10 or top 5 greatest hits. The time you saved a neighbour’s kitten from a fire, the time you spontaneously signed up for bungee jumping on the spot ‘just because’, even the time you first cussed – Kevin Hart tells a great story on that (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMgSvn2kKlk). Remember them, get good at telling them, because your stories are not only one of the best ways you can engage your conversational partner, they tell him or her who you are. Telling someone about the time you took your little brother skydiving is going to stick much better than you outrightly saying ‘I love adventure and I also care for my family’.
4. Be Better
Don’t just be different from the herd – be better. We all know people in general, including interviewers, are looking for someone different to brighten up their mundane routines of the interview process. But they would definitely take mundane and boring over a creepy or unfriendly different. Like we said earlier – read the room. And if you can, play the crowd. An ideal ‘better’ would be to play the crowd – this goes by making the audience go nuts and the first rightful thought to think, ‘hey, that was amazing’. It could be stepping up to embarrass the inconsiderate jerk talking on his phone in the theatre, or wearing a suit to go ice skating, or simply a witty comment. It’s different, but well-received.
If you need help with landing your next job interview, university or scholarship application, look to us.
Impressionist: The Interview Specialists
The Business of Moving People