JUNKIE INSIGHTS SAMPLE
Many years ago, I was a judge in a system other than Miss America. I was in my early 20’s and had a handful of pageants under my belt – but I certainly wasn’t prepared for that which I was about to learn.
To set the stage… There were two different pageants going on simultaneously – one for the “Teen” division and one for the “Pre-Teen” division. After watching all the contestants through the preliminary rounds of competition, the judges were given the chance to chat briefly about our top picks.
I let the conversation begin without my input. I wasn’t necessarily curious to learn whether or not we all had the same ‘top girls’ in mind, it was more about just being polite and not trying to dominate the conversation – LOL!
MUCH to my surprise, only 1 of the 4 other judges shared the same opinion I had! Two judges were both high on a different contestant and the final judge preferred a third contestant. Interestingly, it was almost the exact same situation regarding the Teen contestants and it was for the Pre-Teen contestants (and our wide variety of preferences).
In shock and a little rattled, I didn’t voluntarily join in the conversation. Someone had to bring me in and ask for my opinion.
I tried to keep my best poker-face regarding the fact that I didn’t agree with 3 of the 4 people sitting in the room and why. Frankly, I needed a poker-face because I was floored that some of these ladies were even in the running! They weren’t even the slightest bit appealing to me – and I was somewhat appalled that one of them might actually win the darn thing!
When the finals took place and we were given a Top 5, I didn’t ‘sabotage’ my ballot (meaning – I didn’t take the girl that someone else loved and rank her last in order to keep her from winning). I ranked the girls exactly as I believed they should be ranked, according to their performance. And in the end, something incredible happened…
Both girls who were my favorite leading up to the finals, won.
Obviously, I was in utter shock for the second time during this judging experience – but the good news was, I had practiced my poker-face, so I was able to remain calm and look pleased (rather than elated) with the result. I have no idea who switched their votes, if I had any sway in it, or if in the end – all the ‘math’ just worked out in the favor of the girls I had been drawn to in the first place.
In any event, I learned a super-valuable lesson that day.
Pageantry isn’t about being ‘the best’ in interview, or having ‘the best’ talent, or having ‘the best’ body, or offering ‘the best’ stage presence. Pageantry isn’t even about being well-rounded in each of these categories! Rather, pageantry is about making 5 different people (the judges) love you at one time.
How is that possible? LOL! Great question! Especially since most judges come from a wide variety of backgrounds, ethnicities, socio-economic statuses, birth orders and other various motivations!
I can certainly tell you one way NOT to get 5 people to love you all at one time… By becoming someone YOU THINK they want. That’s a recipe for disaster!
If I might suggest a better way…
When it comes to interview, you frequently hear people say, “be yourself”… “know what you stand for”… “let the judges see your heart and you’ll be fine”. Those are all great tips – but I would encourage you to take it a step further and ask you this question…
WHY is it important to “be yourself” and “let the judges see your heart”?
ANSWER – Because “being yourself” allows you to be comfortable in your own skin. When you’re comfortable enough to be yourself, you can find common ground with a wide variety of people. People who don’t agree with you politically, people who aren’t impressed with your accomplishments, people who don’t know your family history, and people who don’t like the fact that you remind them of their husband’s crazy ex-wife…
You can connect with all of these kinds of people and more – all at one time – when you make it your mission to reach out and find common ground.
And when 5 judges believe your ultimate goal is to reach out and find common ground with them, they can’t help but respond. As human beings, we’re wired to get along… Especially when someone else is purposefully trying to get along with you first!
It doesn’t mean you have to check your opinions at the door. It doesn’t mean you can’t be strong. It doesn’t mean you need to play both sides of the issue. It only means, you’re secure enough to be yourself and express yourself in a way that makes people respect you, because you’re trying to find common ground.
Some refer to it as “being charming”… or making someone else feel like the most important person in the room… but in reality – it’s just finding common ground.
Now – what are some tricks to actually doing that in an interview?
We’ll answer that question, next week…
QUESTION OF THE DAY SAMPLE:
“Do you think America has moved beyond the days of “innocent until proven guilty” thanks in large part to social media which allows people to post their opinions regarding the offenders in question?”
“If the world is cold, make it your business to start fires.”
What fires do you need to start today?