The 5 things eulogies & job interviews have in common

Have you ever left a job interview thinking that you got the job, only later to discover that they chose another candidate? How do create a message that truly connects with the hiring manager and gives you the edge while creating a lasting impression. This week’s podcast is with Frances Cole Jones, a leading media-training consultant, Frances works with numerous executives and experts, helping them to communicate more effectively in crisis situations. She has been featured on shows such as Oprah.

Doing well in a job interview is a skill all professionals can learn and improve upon. Frances’ advice has much in common with a book by Cyrus Copeland called “Farewell, Godspeed: The Greatest Eulogies of Our Time”. Morbid I know, but both authors share some terrific examples of powerful communication concepts. Great interviews in many ways have similar attributes to great eulogies. When I am traveling I often run through areas that are off the beaten path, including cemeteries (in fact they are my one of my favorite places to run in). Running through a cemetery you learn a lot about people in general, especially the philosophy they built their life upon.

Cyrus Copeland was in advertising for a number of years. He left that in pursuit of truth, beauty, and narratives that last longer than thirty seconds of memory. This past week I have been digesting some of the ideas that Frances recommends and relating this to the ideas that Cyrus shares in his book about a great eulogy. Cyrus shares five key points to delivering a great eulogy:

1. Start strong. Madonna eulogizing Gianni Versace said, “I slept in Versace’s bed.”

2. Personal is best. Great eulogies tell what the person meant to you; within your style however, they capture the uniqueness of the individual.

3. Tell the truth. You have to be sincere. We can sense when a person is not sharing from the heart.

4. Be specific. Point to specific areas the person has made an impact.

5. Finish memorably. James Wood eulogizing Bette Davis shared “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy eternity.”

Eulogies share more in common with job interviews than near-death experiences. Similar to a job interview, a key meeting, or pitching your message, eulogies are an example of capturing a message to share with a specific audience. The principles of great communication are the same (even if a eulogy carries a far more emotional message). Also, as in a eulogy, you have a limited time to share your message and leave a lasting impression. One final thing about a great eulogy, you get a sense of connection with the person, which I believe is the most powerful influencer on who gets the job.

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Seat-belt fastened, along the road with you!

Alan