What happens when you stop caring about what other people think?
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The late 1990s comedy Office Space shows us the power of breaking social norms. In today’s episode, we examine how Peter Gibbons demonstrates essential traits of a persuasive argument.
After a personal revelation that leads him to give up on joining the “rat race” of corporate conformity, he unwittingly gains leadership traits that propel his career.
The movie features three key scenes that are relevant to interview presentation skills. Each scene provides a strong example of Rapport Building scenarios:
Lack of Rapport – No confidence and a pessimistic attitude leads to an adversarial relationship with those you wish to persuade. No rapport means no influence which means no effective communication.
“I HAVE PEOPLE SKILLS!!! What the hell is wrong with you people?!”
Personal Rapport – Personal Rapport building is helpful in persuasion but can be tricky if it is forced or faked. To find a common ground that you are truly passionate is important because it leads to a level playing field which helps in persuasion. Forcing camaraderie or faking an interest will be quickly dismissed and, at worst, be met with hostility.
“Your name is Michael.. Bolton?”
Professional Rapport – Demonstrating experience by showing awareness of uncomfortable truths, important needs, or common goals, will launch an interest in what you have to say. If you your research, learn your audience, and execute with confidence, you will be seen as an expert and be sought for solutions.
“You know Bob, that’ll only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.”
The three components of persuasion Peter leverages in the final interview are very important when establishing yourself as an expert:
Confidence is king – Peter just stopped caring about what other people think and it made them that much more interested in what he had to say.
Different is better than better – Peter wasn’t particularly skilled at his job but his refreshing honesty helped him stand apart from his peers at the office.
Identify problems to create opportunity – By displaying awareness of the company’s problems, Peter set himself up as the means to a solution. This technique is an essential part of an effective sales strategy.
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