One of my mentors was Jeff Julin, President of MGA Communications. He imparted on me wisdom that I use to this day, which guides much of my thinking when it comes to all manner of communications.
When he conducted media trainings, he likened interviews to games of tennis. A question asked is analogous to your opponent hitting the ball to a part of the court to which they want you to run. Granted, interviews shouldn’t be viewed as adversarial, and the word “opponent” is imprecise, but bear with me.
Once the question is asked, it’s then your job to run to that part of the court and receive the ball, or, in the context of an interview, answer the question. While it’s imperative to answer the question (lest you look like this), you, as the interviewee, are then presented with an opportunity. You don’t have to hit the ball back to the interviewer directly. Doing so would be an opportunity wasted.
Once you’ve answered the question, you can steer the conversation where you want it to go. To continue this extended metaphor, you can hit the ball back to anyplace on the court you wish. It’s then incumbent upon your opponent to respond accordingly. Of course, then they have an opportunity, and so on. The conversation continues to unfold in this manner until it reaches its natural conclusion.
In an interview, we don’t always know what questions are going to be asked or how they’re going to be phrased. No one can predict this with 100% accuracy. What matters is how we react to the questions that are asked, and how we achieve whatever positive outcome we desire. We do this by reacting nimbly and confidently, but also by asserting control and seizing opportunities when they arise.
This is the philosophy of our business, and why we fancy ourselves Deft. Tennis players are swift, resourceful and improvisational. They’ve honed these skills through years of practice.
So have we. We quickly assess the situation, respond appropriately, then look for opportunity. Whether this is in an interview, or in planning strategically for the next growth phase of your business, it’s the approach we bring to every project we undertake, big or small. Good communications tactics are only worth doing if they’re serving and enhancing your core business needs.
We’re nimble. We’re savvy. We’re Deft.
And we look forward to working with you.