Rotten Interviews Persist

Rotten Interviews Persist

People go for interviews more often than they imagine. Few of them are job interviews – most people don’t change jobs frequently. Whether for a job, a brief on a new project, a medical examination, placing another person into care of some sort, a visit to a mentor-coach or any other interchange, for every meeting you have with someone, the need is preparation, preparation, preparation. It is to communications what location, location, location is to property. The difference is that preparing to communicate is as much thinking as researching. And thinking is the hardest thing we do.  

What do you need to think about?

Mostly, the other person. We all think about what we want to say. To us it is the reason for our communication. We’d better hammer it home or it won’t work! It’s like those ads you see on television – endless garbled repetition to cram as many words into a few seconds as possible. The viewer cuts them out of hearing so they have no impact at all. I call them HTFM – How To Fritter Money. 

Someone has forgotten that the most powerful communications are by gesture, by pause, by silence. I once called a huge audience to attention by remaining silent for five minutes on the rostrum  – an eternity in speaking terms. Their attention never wavered after that. 

What must we think about the other person? 

First and most important, who they are and what they are interested in. Only by letting them see our interest in them will we capture their imagination and attention. And if we don’t think they are very interesting it is our failure to search deeper into what is preventing them from telling us that makes them appear boring. 

Every individual in the world is fascinating. Our job is to discover that icon of excitement that makes them valuable. When we do so, we open a connection that allows us to learn and to teach. That is exactly what all communication is about. If we want to sell we must first learn. If 80% of a sales pitch is listening we will probably succeed. If 80% is telling, we will probably fail. 

People often don’t volunteer information easily. They are shy, reserved, anxious about being scammed, and rightly so.  There are more sophisticated criminals in the world than ever before. They have powerful tools at their disposal with which to steal and cheat. But you will make no contact, certainly no sale, if you don’t listen to the people with whom you communicate. 

So your questions must be interesting but not frightening. They must engage not repel. They must show your integrity not your cleverness. They must express empathy. How do you do that? You ask them for advice. Very few people can resist giving advice. After all it is an honour to be asked. In your next meeting with someone you don’t know terribly well try asking them for their views on some aspect of the subject you are talking about. Make it a genuine enquiry, not a phoney flattery. Chances are they will come up with some good ideas. Whether they do or not, they will ‘get on your wavelength’. It is only then that people become convinced that you are there to help them and not just to take their money.

All of this sounds obvious – and yet, very few people do it. Why is that? 

It is because we all fall into the trap of thinking that we are a fascinating person. Actually, we want whoever we are talking to thinking that about themselves. Is there a way to do that? Of course there is. Practice, practice, practice.

Yes, just three sessions of practice will change anyone’s behaviour and put them on the road to being a successful communicator. Better that than persisting with Rotten Interviews.

Turn RIP (Rotten Interviews Persist) into FUN (Find Uniting Nearness).

It’s valuable FUN at any age.

Good morning 

John Bittleston 


In answer to your question, ‘Yes,we do get clients to do this’. If you think you need to improve your interviewing skills drop us a line at

We’ll do a trial run at no charge.

11 June 2023