How To Change The Subject

How To Change The Subject           By Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

Terri Gross,  host of NPR’s “Fresh Air” offers this advice if you’re being interviewed for a job or if you’re on radio or TV and it’s going badly, change the subject by saying, “Let me share an experience.”

This lets you shift the conversation so that it focuses on what you’d rather talk about. If it’s a job interview, you can use a brief story focus on your strengths.

This verbal tactic is sometimes referred to as a bridging technique. This particular one works even with skillful interviewers because they can’t know in advance that the illustration you’re about to tell will shift the focus of the conversation.

Abraham Lincoln did this all the time—in the courtroom, on the platform, and in personal conversations.  Lincoln would say, “That reminds me of a story.”  He did it so often that it became a trademark tactic.

There’s probably no better way to change the subject than to tell a story, and tell it well.

(For the full interview, see The New York Times, 11/18/18)

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You might also enjoy “Lincoln Speaks To Leaders by Gene Griessman and Pat Williams.


Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and communication strategist. His book “TheWords Lincoln Lived By” is in its 23rd printing and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” is in its 43rd printing. His training video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions and annual meetings all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, call 404-435-2225. Learn more at Atlanta Speakers Bureau or at his website. His latest book “Lincoln and Obama” has just been released by Audible.
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