Know Your Softball Swing (Or, What to Do When the Topic is so Big it’s Easy to Strike Out)

As we close in on the 2019 World Series, it seems appropriate to write about softball swings—particularly as I spent yesterday with a client who frequently gets asked questions so big she doesn’t know what to swing at.

What kinds of questions am I talking about?

In her case questions along the lines of, “Tell me about female leadership.” Or “Tell me about collaboration.”

Really? Female leadership? Collaboration?

Um…there’s a lot to it.

For her employees, it sounds like, “Tell me about the company.”

Um…it’s pretty big.

In my case, an un-favorite opening is: “Tell me about ‘How to Wow’” 

Um…. it’s my book.

For you, it might be – in a job interview — “Tell me about yourself,” or – on a date—“So, what do you do with your free time?”

Can you feel your mind going blank?  If so, what do I recommend you do?

Pick one thing you are excited about and talk about that.

For example, with my client who is asked about her process of collaboration, it sounded like, “Recently we started an in-office protocol where we do X.”

For her employees, “My favorite thing about working for X is Y.”

In a job interview, the answer might sound like, “Your job description says you need someone who can do X. Not only can I do X but I can also add value with Y and Z.”

On a date, you might say, “Right now I’m most enjoying learning to kickbox/knitting argyle socks/cooking Thai food.”

As you can see, the important thing is to ground yourself with the one thing, and then let your questioner follow up as needed/desired.

Otherwise, it’s all too easy to strike out.

For more on how to answer dreaded job interview questions check out my FREE interview app for the iPhone and iPad: Interview Wow.