Which Phrase Is More Persuasive in a Job Interview?

Trying to persuade someone of your point of view? Ever considered changing your words to reflect whether the listener was more emotionally or cognitively oriented? The Public Speaker Lisa B. Marshall explains how to choose between "I think," and "I feel."

Lisa B. Marshall
2-minute read

Let’s say you’re finishing an all-day job interview. Your host says, “The last meeting is with our director, Tom. This won’t take long; he’s the kind of guy that looks at bottom line results and makes decisions quickly."  

So, you confidently walk into this final interview to tell Tom why you believe you are the best candidate. Which would be the most effective phrase for you to use?

  • “I think my skills and experiences are a good fit because…”
  • “I feel my skills and experiences are a good fit because...”

Maybe you’re wondering, “Does it really matter?” 

Well, research shows that the persuasive impact of largely identical messages can depend on whether they are presented in terms of thoughts versus feelings.

The study, conducted by a Stanford University researcher and a University of Chicago colleague, found that cognitive, or thinking-oriented people, responded more favorably to messages that begin with ‘I think,’ while emotionally-oriented people responded more favorably to messages that begin with ‘I feel,’ even when information that follows those phrases was the same. 

So, now which phrase would be most effective with Tom?

(Need a hint? Tom "looks at bottom line results and makes decisions quickly" indicating that he is likely task/thought-oriented.)  Let me know what you think on The Public Speaker Facebook page or in the comments below.

This is Lisa B. Marshall, moving you from mediocre to memorable, from information to influence, and from worker to leader! I invite you to read my best-selling books, Smart Talk and Ace Your Interview, listen to my other podcast,  Smart Talk, and invest in your professional development via my online courses Powerful PresenterExpert Presenter, or Influence: Maximize Your Impact.   

As always, your success is my business!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.