When Things Go Off Track… | Foundation 6 – Lesson 11

Go back to Job Search Prep Syllabus.

Spend enough time selling, and you’ll learn one thing for sure:

Things rarely go as planned.

In these cases, what you do to recover is often less important than how you do it. So I want to put two words into your head now and have you take them with you wherever you go. These two words are you new mantra. When things start derailing, say these words to yourself and then work them into your response. You’ve heard them before. I got these words from The Second City, where I took improv classes. These words are

“Yes, and…”

Get to know your new mantra:

“Yes, and…” is relaxed. It relieves tension by making situaitons blameless.

“Yes, and…” solves problems. It directs everyone’s attention and energies on how to move forward from the current state.

“Yes, and…” is emotionally mature. It validates others by accepting whatever “is.”

“Yes, and…” is creative. It tricks your mind in thinking positively by committing you to a solution before you know what that solution will be.

“Yes, and…” sets the right tone. it pre-empts the need to get defensive.

One related point: countless interviews fall apart on the question, “Why do you want to work here?” You know this question is coming, so there is no reason to be surprised by it! See this blog post for a quick primer on how to answer that question.

HOMEWORK!!!

Put “Yes, and…” to use in your life right now. Have fun with this. As quickly as possible, respond to the following challenges as if you were sitting in a job interview. Go as fast as you can—start responding the moment you finish reading the statement, before you have a chance to think about it. (You’ll be surprised how quickly your brain processes a coherent response.) Do it out loud.

Laughing is OK—some of these challenges are ridiculous, so I expect some of your responses will be, too. Roll with it. Assume every challenge is legit and requires a response—you are not allowed to say, “But that’s not true!” I’m trying to break you of defensive behaviors here, so play along.

You may do this exercise as often as you wish. In fact, you should. Enjoy… if this doesn’t frustrate you/make you smile/make you want to call a friend to do it with you, you’re doing it wrong. Here we go:

  • I see you only have one arm, but you applied to be a stock clerk…?
  • How did you graduate from the University of Michigan without meeting a single person from Michigan?
  • It says on your resume that you spent a summer building huts for migrant farmers in outer Mongolia. So you’re a bleeding heart liberal, huh? You know that we’re a bank, right?
  • So, you’ve done quite a bit of traveling, I see… it must be nice having rich parents.
  • That’s an impressive GPA. So ya think you’re smart?
  • That’s an interesting outfit you’re wearing today. You know we’re not business casual here, right?
  • Why should I hire you? Aside from the paycheck?
  • Every Thursday is donut day where we bring in an entire box of donuts per person, and no one is allowed to go home until they finish their whole box… doesn’t that sound great?!

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