Show them some Sparkle
Updated: May 2, 2018
He interrupted me mid-sentence: “Lea. You sound...very flat...very monotone.” I rolled my eyes, clenched my jaw. We were only a few minutes into our daily mock interview sessions—something I had reluctantly agreed to in the week leading up to my departure for London. It was a painful hour each day that routinely ended in a roaring Lea vs. Dad screaming match. The two of us never held back when it came to a good fight.
He paused, thinking carefully about what to say next.
“You must—you must SPARKLE!” he exclaimed, with a dramatic sweep of the hand, an impassioned look in his eye. “It’s in the eyes, and..and the voice. This is something you should focus on.”
Classic Dad. Trying desperately to give good advice but managing somehow to land an insult instead.
But as with most of these exchanges, with a bit of time and distance, I’d come to see the wisdom in his words. He wanted me to understand that when you’re in a job interview—or any interpersonal situation—it’s only partially about showing your skills, or experience, or intellect. More than that, it’s about drawing the person in. Are you flat and monotone? Or do you sparkle?
And Dad knew how to light up a room. Sometimes to a fault—you’d have to tell him to turn down the wattage a bit to make space for the other, more subdued light bulbs in the room. And he was always grateful for this reminder. But his brand of sparkle was loud, free-flowing, unapologetic, off-color and downright fun to be around.
He knew that open and engaging energy was your passport into any new country, culture, language or job. So if you find yourself feeling unsure—in foreign lands, a stuffy conference room, or a crowded cocktail party—channel a bit of Stavros. Show them some sparkle.