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Speech Patterns and The Interview

July 5th, 2016

The excitement is building as time nears for The Interview. This job opportunity is what you’ve been dreaming of, and working hard towards, for years. Your appearance is great; your handshake is firm. Then the interview begins and your speech patterns make you lose some credibility.
Blame it on curriculum changes at the elementary and secondary levels, peer pressure, or whatever, the fact of the matter is dropping the word “like” into a conversation one or more times per sentence can be seen as less than professional. Take that thought and apply it to a job interview. There is research that Hiring Managers and Human Resources specialists, as a general rule, don’t look favorably to what are called “filler words”, such as “like”. Other culprits in the filler word category include “um”, “ah”, “you know”, as well as using “so” to begin a sentence.
In an article on theladders.com, New York-based speech pathologist Jayne Latz writes the key is to recognize your own speech patterns, and pause when you feel the filler word coming on. Ms. Latz calls this “strategic pausing” and says by practicing this every day, you will begin to no longer need the filler word.
More research shows your chance of landing that job decreases with other poor speech habits, including “Upspeak”. Speech Coach Diane DiResta defines Upspeak to be where your inflection rises at the end of every sentence, making the sentence sound like a question. This can have the interviewer constantly wondering if they need to be answering the question, thereby distracting them from what they should be thinking of – hiring you!
The consensus is to simply practice your speech patterns out loud, making yourself aware of these speech habits and limiting them as much as possible. Confidence in presenting yourself will always make you look good in the interviewer’s eyes!

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