Your ability to listen effectively is critical during informational interviews. In Learn about how specifically listening to understand will help you build relationships, identify solutions, avoid wasting time, and improve the number of referrals you will
- You probably think you're a good listener, but in this competitive, high tech, fast paced world, we seem to devote less and less time to really listening to one another. And your ability to listen effectively is critical during informational interviews. In this video, we'll address how specifically listening to understand will help you build relationships, identify solutions, avoid wasting time, and improve the number of referrals you will obtain during informational interviews.
Decide from the start to make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that your contact is saying, but more importantly, learn from their advice. Let your contact know that you're listening to every word they are saying. Face the person and maintain eye contact throughout the entire conversation. Nod when you understand and take notes. When you've established eye contact, be very attentive, but also relaxed.
In order to remain attentive, don't get distracted by your own thoughts, feelings, or opinions of what is being said. It is not your job to agree, disagree with, or judge this contact. Listen to understand where this person is coming from, because their opinions are based on their personal experiences. Write down keywords and phrases that will help you remember the information being shared. Try to visualize this person's career path to better understand and retain their advice.
Never interrupt when your contact is speaking, only talk when they've asked you a question or for clarification. Remember, the focus of your informational interview is to obtain information from someone else. You may be a quick thinker and your contact may talk at a slower pace, but this does not excuse interruptions. When you need clarification of something said, wait for your contact to pause and then say something like, could you please explain what you meant, or I'm not sure I understood what you just said.
Ask questions only to ensure your understanding. And be sure to show your attentiveness through your facial expressions and reactions. Responses like that's interesting or it's amazing to learn how you accomplished that will show your contact that you're listening. You can also respond with a simple aha to show that you're listening. When you listen to understand, chances are the informational interviews will be extended.
Your contact may offer to mentor you. You'll receive more referrals, and you'll have information that can help advance your career.
- Compare an informational interview to a job interview.
- Identify companies and contacts to interview.
- Prepare for an interview, by researching questions and updating your résumé.
- Conduct an informational interview.
- Analyze the results from your interview.