Combine the Senses

Poring over your notes again? It won’t stops the brain blanks.  

When it comes to pitches and job interviews, most people think hard about their looks, their hair, their handshakes and their voice. Many people earnestly do their ‘due diligence’ and prepare a dozen narratives that bear witness to the required competencies. Many also sit down and script ‘elevator pitches’ and ‘CV walk throughs’ and ‘track records’ and the dreaded ‘defence against negatives’ like the weakness question. Prepare, prepare, prepare. On paper. They slave at their desk for hours, with their lips tightly closed.

And what happens on the day? Their mind goes blank. Yet again. I have heard this scenario a hundred times.

And often the more later-stage the interview is, the more likely the blank. Up the consequence, up the stakes, and we up the conscious numbness. ‘Why?’ you may ask.

Speakers and authors like Eric Kramer, Nicolas Boothman, Lynn Williams, Victor Cheng, and Anna Post, refer to a range of approaches and particularly going live and … practice-practice-practice. In fact, in fact this is totally right. Why? You may ask again.

There are many reasons, some of which are explained by a cousin of Tony Corballis, Professor Michael Corballis, a neuro-scientist, cognitive psychologist and global expert in the origins of language, left-handedness, and other matters to do with the brain. He explains that the more senses we attach to ideas and objects, the more easily they are recalled. Sight, sound, smell, touch, movement.

With the thousands of interview coaching and training clients Tony Corballis has spoken with, the emphasis is on complementing strategic preparation with oral rehearsal – real live role-play, in which buzzwords, triggers, indicators and whatever constitutes good answers are practised again and again. Out loud. Homework to take away may include techniques in speaking while looking into cameras or mirrors.

Yes, the more we make it verbal and audio to reflect the visual, such as your notes, scripts or spider-mapping, the easier we will recall what we need to say. It’s not rocket science. The more senses you employ to ‘own’ your interview answers, the more easily and smoothly they will roll out, and include everything you meant to say. Then you’ll be ready to go join the conversation with your agenda clear and ready.

There’s a whole lot too on memory through harnessing associations and visual analogies, but we’ll save that for a rainy day.