Getting Your Point Across…Quickly!

Do you find yourself in situations where you want to be knowledgeable, succinct, and confident all at the same time? Here’s a simple proven technique you can use based on the STAR concept. It’s made up of four components: SITUATION, TASKS, ACTIONS and RESULT. First identify the big picture (Situation), describe what needs to be accomplished (Tasks), to do’s that you personally undertake (Actions) and the final outcome (Results). With that framework in mind, you can apply this technique to numerous situations such as a fielding behavioral type questions at job interviews like “Tell me about a time when…” or “Describe a situation where…” The technique itself guides you to keep it short and engaging.

Here’s an example of using a STAR STORY at a job interview:


“ I see from your resume you worked in regional sales for five years. Tell me about that experience.”


SITUATION: “I’m glad you asked. My job was to penetrate new markets within a six state region, build relationships, expand sales and increase repeat business. I also wanted to create a presence in the region for our product line, company brand and myself as one point of contact.”

TASKS: First, it was important to learn from internal colleagues who know the ropes about product lines, problems and opportunities. I traveled with seasoned colleagues to learn tricks of the trade, ways to deal with difficult issues, problems that emerge regularly. I learned all I could about our emerging product lines from peers, training and written materials. I studied regional strategies so I could create solutions that would work best for the problems I might encounter in my region. I studied past sales history and learned names of key customers and company reps.

ACTIONS: With a detailed plan in place, I worked the territory daily and when I ran into glitches, I revised my thinking with new strategies. Rapport and relationship building was key. It led to learning about new players in communities and hosting informational breakfasts. Once customers knew I had their best interest in mind, sales increased and word of mouth spread. Within six months, repeat business escalated which meant I could deepen customer bonds vs. continual cold calling.

RESULTS: After creating a cost effective travel and work schedule, I learned from my mistakes and found new ways of handling recurring problems. Within 6 months, I created 14% increase in requests for presentations over the prior three years. In 1 year, I escalated sales 26% in the region from the previous three years and within 24 months I achieved regional sales targets as top company producer.

Note from Joyce: Now it’s your turn. What does it take to build results like this? Awareness of STAR and practice, practice, practice. If you’ve had experience using the STAR concept, let us know what happened (good or bad) and we’ll brainstorm together ways to use the concept in the future.