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Does speaking order matter in project interviews?

Yes and no.  While earning my Master’s Degree in Speech Communication at the University of Texas at Austin, I learned some theories related to persuasion:

The Primacy Effect suggests that the information we hear first is more likely to have sticking power.

Alternately, the Recency Effect suggests a disproportionate amount of recent stimuli or observations have more salience.

My experience has revealed that while these principles may hold true, there are a number of other factors which may influence whether the speaking order helps or hurts you:

1. How many total presentations will the selection panel hear?
2. How much time have they allotted per presentation team?
3. Will they be meeting with all of the teams in the same day and will there be a break for lunch?
4. Do the presentations all blend together as a result of too many similarities or have certain teams made their presentations verbally and visually unique?
5. Have you clearly articulated what sets you apart from your competitors and what’s in it for the client by hiring YOU?
6. Does the panel find your presentation boring or interesting?
7. Are your presenters engaging and likable?

If your team is terrible, if your presentation misses the mark, your speaking order won’t help you win. Bear in mind, I have had teams win the job who presented smack dab in the middle of the pack.  So don’t get psyched up or psyched out by your speaking order.  Just give it your all and do what it takes to hit a home run with your interview.

For more valuable tips like these, order your copy of “Selection Success!”

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