Jacob and Marco Yim talk about effective communication, public speaking, interviewing and resumes. With over 10 years of experience in speaking, training, and workshop facilitation, Marco knows that anyone can become a great communicator. With the right training, preparation, and mindset, speaking can shift from feeling like a nightmare to an energizing, confidence-boosting experience.
Whether you’re trying to land a new job, presenting at a small meeting, or demanding a refund on a defective product, speaking with impact matters!
Other’s expectations vs. your own path
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Jacob Harmon 0:11
Welcome to success, become your best self and join the revolution to success. I'm Jacob Harmon and today we're going to have another amazing interview. This interview is all about becoming a better interviewee and also a better public speaker. So if you've ever wanted to be better at job interviewing or public speaking, this is definitely the podcast for you. And we're just going to jump right into it. I am super excited to have Marco yen with me today. And He is an expert when it comes to interviewing skills, resume building, basically anything to get a job and we'll talk a little bit about that more later on in the interview. But how are you doing today, Marco?
Marco Yim 0:57
I'm doing very, very well. It's A little bit of a crazy week, but I'm so excited to be chatting with you as well. I know, we've been, you know, talking on and off on LinkedIn for a while. So it's great to finally be on your show and talk a little bit more about the things that I'm so excited about all the time.
Jacob Harmon 1:15
Yeah, it has been why I remember I reached out, maybe like a month or so ago. And you've been incredibly busy, which is understandable. So I'm glad we were able to finally find a time that we could get together and talk. So before we get into kind of the the interviewing skills and job seeking and that kind of information. Let's talk a little bit about you, Marco, and kind of your story. How did you get where you are today?
Marco Yim 1:41
Yeah, absolutely. You know, when I was growing up, I was one of those kids that that really aspired to just be a professional. And my Asian parents felt very strongly about that. So after a lot of consideration, I decided I was going to do legal stuff. He's as part of my undergraduate degree. And I was so set on being a lawyer for so many years through undergrad. And then I finally got to a place in my last year of studies, and I said, You know what, I don't think that's the lifestyle that I was looking for. It wasn't going to give me the balance that I wanted, it wasn't going to challenge me. And so I was really soul searching for a really long time. Thankfully, I did internships and co ops throughout my undergraduate career, and one of my previous employers said, come work for me while you figure it out. And so I actually started my career as a technical writer for about two years. And as much fun as that was, and as great as it was for me to build my foundation and how to communicate, and how to really frame conversation so that everybody can understand me. I felt like staring at the same document got a little bit old really, really quickly. And so I decided to change careers and I actually started Working in SAS based companies and customer success, okay, and I am still doing that actually now full time. And all throughout that I actually started my own company called extemporary, which is a company dedicated to helping young professionals learn how to speak with confidence and credibility in the workplace, whether they're at an interview, or they need to give presentations in the boardroom, or maybe they're a young manager, and they need to learn how to give effective feedback to their to their team. So that's always been a passion project of mine. And so I do that on the side as well.
Jacob Harmon 3:35
Wow. So sounds like you've kind of jumped around a lot, which is awesome. I think that there's a lot of value in that. And you've given us a lot to to work with here. So let's kind of dig into a little bit of the stuff you talked about. And I'm, I'm really interested in this idea of being a professional. Right. And you mentioned that that's something that your parents really, really wanted out of you and I don't know Whole lot about Asian culture. I haven't had a whole lot of exposure to it. How did you navigate that expectation of your parents and also the desire to find your own path?
Marco Yim 4:10
Yeah, when I was in high school, it was a given that I would take all of the sciences, all of the math, and if I had room that I would do some electives that were a true passion of mine. And I use my last elective. And in studying the law, I loved sciences. I love biology and left chemistry, but I didn't see myself in that industry. I didn't want to do research. I didn't want to be a doctor or pharmacist. And so I thought, what is the closest thing or the next best thing that my parents would approve of? And I really got to that point where my mom and I came to a consensus. Eventually, as I got more and more confident, and what it is that I I was hoping to get out of my profession, it became very evident that my parents started to understand and having a really frank conversation with them about what it is that I want. I want it work life balance. I didn't want to live a life where I was always battling with somebody else on the other side, it just wasn't a good fit for me. And I have tons of friends in my cohort that ended up being lawyers and have enjoyed every part of it. It just wasn't for me. And I think after enough time and having a frank conversation with my mother, she understood.
Jacob Harmon 5:33
Yeah, that's super cool. And I'm really fascinated in this idea. I've been thinking a lot about it that everything we do in life isn't wasted. You know, any time that we spend doing something we're learning, right? And I'm just thinking, being a lawyer, you have to have some really good speaking skills. Like you have to really be able to stand in front of a room and be able to talk to people do you feel like even though that's not the path you decided to go on? Was that a good experience for you to have?
Marco Yim 6:03
Absolutely. My training and understanding the law and studying the law and building really good arguments was so, so important to the way that I tackle problems today and the way that I solve problems today, I think, you know, when I talk to my team members and their one on ones, I always say every single experience that you have, no matter how big or how small it is, it's a milestone, it's an opportunity to continue honing your skills. my resume, from top to bottom is so disjointed, it's all over the place, right? But you can find that common thread of communications, you can find that common thread of dealing with end customers and making sure that they understand my message. Those things all contribute, whether that's tech writing, whether that was teaching or facilitating more even my work now with customers, they all relate in some way, shape or form.
Jacob Harmon 6:57
Wow, that's so cool. And I think sometimes times in the business world, we get into this, this mindset of where we have to be something and we have to be that person consistently, so that we're building a resume or a brand. And I think that that's important, but at the same time, there's not a lot of diverse experiences that you can get in if you branch out. There's a lot more experiences available to which is super cool.
Marco Yim 7:21
Yeah, I think you know, nowadays more than anything, young people are encouraged to try different things. And we do move around a little bit more than maybe our, our parents did. And that's okay, so long as you're able to tell that narrative and to paint a really good picture as to why you're still a good fit for a job if you were applying to do something right. Transitioning is not necessarily a bad thing so long so you can say how your collective experiences still make you a really good fit for the job if not better, because you bring different perspectives than a different lens to the job.
Jacob Harmon 8:01
Yeah, that's super fascinating to me. So you don't want to be disjointed you don't want to be seem like you, you're easily distracted. But you also want to have a variety of experience. So there is a balance there for sure. Yeah, absolutely. So I'm sorry, go ahead.
Marco Yim 8:17
No, no, I was just gonna say that. That's exactly how I feel about it too.
Jacob Harmon 8:21
Great. Great. And so you you also the kind of the next step of your career was into a SAAS company. And for those listeners who may not know what a SAAS company is that software as a service, it's usually a software company that's selling licenses or sometimes subscriptions, probably more often subscriptions nowadays. And you're working as a customer success. Rep. What exactly do you do in customer success?
Marco Yim 8:47
Yeah, customer success is a fairly new industry, what's they they're really owning the entire customer experience from beginning to end when I first started in customer success, I owned a book of business. So you know, X number of clients, and we were responsible for meeting with them understanding what their goals are helping them with their implementation so that we can get our service or product in their organization. And then continually nurturing that relationship and eventually getting to a point where they're getting more of our products and services, and growing with us as a as a partner. And so I've had a lot of opportunities to work with some really cool companies, and really have challenged myself to be that much more strategic because you're really an ally to your clients. And as I continue to grow in my kind of profession as a customer success professional, I started moving towards other models of business as well. So I started in SAS, and now I work for a direct to consumer company, and it's bringing a completely new world to my eyes. But again, much like what I said before all The learnings that I've had in my previous world in SAS, there's so many transferable skills in in a direct to consumer company as well.
Jacob Harmon 10:08
So when you talk about customer success, it seems like I mean, you mentioned that you're like the ally of the customer, right? Which is interesting, because you're working for the company. And obviously, the company's goals to make money. But as a customer success, agent or representative, is your job more about helping the customer and making sure that they're happy than than actually making money for the company? Or is that a good balance of both?
Marco Yim 10:34
You know, I think it depends on the company. There are definitely some companies that put revenue quotas on their customer success professionals or managers for the comments like a sales rep at that point. Yeah, and luckily for me, a lot of the companies that I work for didn't have that same model. Because for me, growth happens organically when I can be a trusted advisor to my clients. If I can Tell somebody No, no, you don't need to buy more products from me to do X. When I do tell them, they need new products for a future project, they're much more likely to trust me and to actually just I rank for. And that type of organic growth to me is more important. It's more valuable, because that's how you can nurture long term relations.
Jacob Harmon 11:21
Yeah, I completely agree. In my business experience. I think just being a good person is one of the best things you can do for your business, really being out there to help people. And if you're genuinely trying to help people, then business will come back to you. For sure.
Marco Yim 11:38
Exactly. Cool. Cool.
Jacob Harmon 11:40
All right. Well, let's transition into more learning about communication. I mean, that's your expertise, learning to communicate confidently credibly, what are some of your tips? I mean, let's let's be your students, what can we learn from you?
Marco Yim 11:55
Yeah, let me start at a really high level. Right. I think When customers or clients first come to me, they have a laundry list of things that they want to improve. And that's inherent in the way that we think about communications. And we think about public speaking, right will say, Oh, well, I fidget with my hands. And I use filler words. And I bet her a lot. And we focus on those types of issues or growth areas. And what I like to do a lot of the times is actually shift the conversation saying, okay, but what are you really, really good at? Maybe we start there, because if you can take the strengths that you have, and learn how to amplify that and learn how to adapt that to different scenarios, that's actually what people are going to remember you by, not by those incremental improvements that you make right off the hop. So I would first say, do a deep dive analysis of what are some What are your actual strengths as a speaker and maybe think about how you can improve those first, okay? Another really big thing that I would encourage people to think about is to not subscribe wholeheartedly to what we see as the common kind of foe pause of public speaking or communications. A good example of that would be filler words. We think of it as a cardinal sin almost when we have filler words. But there's actually a ton of research like just the complete opposite, that there's an acceptable level of filler words that we can use that it's actually great for helping her off numbers process information in a more systematic way. So I would really challenge a lot of different assumptions that we have and you know, doing some deeper dive into what does the research actually say? I think that's really, really important. And finally, I would say, don't just subscribe to this idea of Oh, you know what TED Talk speakers are the the the golden standard. Not every single person is going to be super theatrical as a speaker. I'm fairly theatrical myself, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it lens well to every single person's speaking style. You are somebody that is very informative as a speaker, then double down on that use more facts use more downtown's. And you can actually be just as impactful as somebody who maybe has more vocal dexterity and range then that somebody else that you've seen, super interesting. So going back to the filler words real quick,
Jacob Harmon 14:23
we usually edit at least the majority of the comes out of our podcast, should we reconsider that?
Marco Yim 14:28
I think there's a there's a tipping point before it gets more distracting than it is impactful, right? The research suggests that after 1.28 filler words per hundred words, that's when your audience starts to really lock into the filler words that you use subsequently. So I would say, take a look and see how often are they being used where they are actually being used? Does it actually impact the end audiences ability to comprehend my message and if you can definitively say, yeah, you know what that's going to be distracting, then maybe it's actually more authentic and more natural for for it to be part of that conversation because you and I are really just having a conversation right now.
Jacob Harmon 15:11
Right? And I can see how maybe the audience or the listener might actually be able to relate more because it sounds more human and more natural. So that actually makes a lot of sense to me.
Marco Yim 15:23
Yeah, no, absolutely. And if it is something that is more of a problem for anyone that's listening, there are some really concrete ways to tackle filler words as well. A good example of that is actually moderating pace. There's some really great research out of the University of Columbia, I believe, and they did some really cool studies with where they had a professor speaking without any distractions or any kind of interventions, and then somebody else that had a metronome speaking in the background, and they realized that the person speaking with a metronome actually use fewer filler words because they were moderating their pics. More organically than somebody who just was able to talk freely. So pace is really important. And also getting immediate feedback, the more immediate, the feedback and the more distinct so you used five filler words, and they were all arms that actually decrease fillers by up to 33%. So just because you're a lot of really cool, exactly, exactly. Yeah. So you know, lots of really great tips out there. Do some Google search, do some research on studies out there. Be informed. I think that's the most important thing if you're trying to enhance your public speaking skills, at least that's the first step.
Jacob Harmon 16:38
Yeah, I can definitely vouch for the being aware of what's going on. We recently had our first event for success quest, and we recorded it and going back and watching myself speak. I was so embarrassed because I started to notice things that I do that I didn't even know that I did. pacing back and forth. I kept putting my hands in my pockets, which drove me crazy, just little things like that, that I didn't even know that I was doing until I got to watch it again. So I think recording yourself can probably help to write
Marco Yim 17:11
1,000%. I always encourage recording resolve to best understand what your little pork start because we all have them and they naturally start to creep up when you're just a little bit nervous. And depending on what your quirks are, then you can start tackling them one by one. If pacing is an issue. For example, try putting a little newspaper underneath you when you're practicing, speaking, because the more rustling that you hear, the more you're actually realizing that maybe you're pacing and that's a really good mental break for you to be like, Oh, I'm hearing those sounds. Maybe I'm pacing too much. So you know,
Jacob Harmon 17:46
little things like that can actually make a huge difference. That's super cool. I I mean, I wish we could talk about talking skills and speaking skills for hours because right, maybe maybe I need to be one of your clients because I would love to become better. Speaker in my goodness, just just in these 15 minutes or so I've, I've already learned so much. Unfortunately we don't have forever though. This episode of success quest is sponsored by Audible. Audible like you've already heard us talk about. It's an amazing audiobook company. It allows you to listen to just about any book on just about any topic. If you want to learn something new audible is one of the best ways to do that, because you can learn while you're on the go. I'm still reading a book called indestructible by Nero and I definitely recommend that book to you. To sign up for audible just go to my success quest.com slash audible and you'll get a free audiobook and two free audible originals. After that, it's just 1495 a month and you'll get an audiobook and two audible originals every single month after that. Thank you so much to Audible for sponsoring success quest. So let's move on a little bit to interviewing skills, what's different between public speaking and interviewing? And what are some things we should consider?
Marco Yim 19:14
You know, there's actually a lot of parallelisms between public speaking and interview skills. And that's why I actually started slowly transitioning because public speaking is an important and it's great, but it's not relevant to everyone that I talked to. We can all relate to the idea of job searcher. Job surfing skills, I should say. So, there, there isn't a whole lot of difference. But I would say that there are certain things that you absolutely need to think more about. We talked a lot about structure when you're creating a speech that's equally if not more important when you're thinking about answering interview questions, right, because our job as the candidate is to make sure that we're making the interviewers job as easy as possible, if I'm writing down notes, and I asked you a question, what are your strengths, I should be able to write 123 as an interviewer what your strengths are. And if you can't deliver on that thing you failed as a candidate.
Jacob Harmon 20:11
Yeah. And especially for those more common interview questions, like almost always they're going to ask you what your strengths are, what your weaknesses. I mean, these are kind of the cliche interview questions, right? You should always be prepared for those, I'm assuming?
Marco Yim 20:23
Absolutely. Those are the ones that you can count on. Because, you know, all managers have been asked those questions before when they're preparing for interviews are more likely to also ask those types of questions. I like to think of interviews as break down into a fight or types of questions. You have tenza generic about you questions, but tell me about yourself, what are your greatest strengths? You have your situational or behavioral questions? Tell me about a time when you had to x, you're going to have more technical questions. So maybe more about your skill set, the tools that you know how to use how you set some Take up, you're going to have the fourth type, which are negative reframe questions. So they're really challenging you to think about a negative question and how you turn that negative into a positive. What's your greatest weakness? Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer, and how did you solve that problem? And then the final one, is what I call extemporaneous questions. They're just questions that are right out of left field so that they can test the way that you think on your feet and how you can really approach problems. And if you can figure out a formula for all five of those types of questions, then you're actually setting yourself up for success because you can grill yourself on common questions. But if you don't find the common thread on how you're using stories to backup those five types of questions, then it becomes a lot more difficult as a candidate to really sell yourself in the moment.
Jacob Harmon 21:54
Yeah. Let's talk a little bit more about the extemporaneous questions. Because those are the ones I mean I interviewed it was a little while ago now. But I interviewed for a job. And I got a few questions where I had no idea what to say. They were completely out of left field. What I mean, what are some tips of speech thinking on the spot trying to come up with something that doesn't make you sound dumb? I mean, what what do you do with those types of questions?
Marco Yim 22:19
Yeah, I think the common response, or the common reaction that we have is either a, you're pulling a blank, or you're worrying too much about what that response should be. You need to remember that these questions are meant to test how calmly you can react under pressure. So my recommendation usually is what's the first thought that comes to mind. That's a good starting point, you only have like 510 seconds to prepare. So use that one point to start from there. What's a good example that backs that up? Why did you think about that first point, and then reinforce the fact and then create a good structure around that so a good structure that you can use is what I call the pep model, a point, example point. So you have that one example or one point that you already have. Explain it. Give me that example. And then reinforce that message as to why you came up with that. Now, if for whatever reason you're like, Oh, no, I really can't think of anything. That's okay. To what I would say is explained to the interviewer that that was a tough question. You weren't really sure what the final answer should be. But here are the steps that you took to think about it or to approach it. And the attempt itself is almost more important to me as an interviewer. So that's what I would recommend is use one thought, and blossom it into a larger answer. Don't overthink? And if you can't, then come up with steps as to how you approach that question. Very interesting. And
Jacob Harmon 23:47
I guess one of the most important things is just be calm, right? show that you can handle the pressure because that's the whole purpose. Mm hmm. Very cool. Okay. And similar to interviewing is preparing a resume and making yourself look professional. And one of the reason I actually originally reached out to you about being on the show was because you posted a really cool LinkedIn video where you were actually taking someone's resume and going through it point by point in giving advice on on writing resume, and it was incredible advice. So what are your What are your tips for resumes? What are some things we should think about when we're making our resume?
Marco Yim 24:25
Yeah, I think when you think about resumes, there are two major pieces that you need to consider. The first is formatting and the way that it looks. If you're applying for larger companies, and they're using some sort of automated filtering system, then it's really important to keep your formatting extremely simple. If you're applying to startups and you are pretty sure that you know somebody on the team is just going to read your resume and reach out then you can take some more liberties with creative formatting with colors with lines and all that kind of jazz. Another really important when it comes to formatting is thinking about consistency. Are your dates all? The same format? Are they all aligned? Are your bullet points aligned with your text? So thinking a lot about how everything is consistent and is easy to read is really, really important from a formatting perspective. The second big bucket that you need to think about obviously, is the content itself. 90% of the time with resume reviews, the immediate thing that stands out to me is somebody doesn't give me enough details about what it is that they actually did, telling me that you, you know, lead an event isn't good enough. What did you do to lead that effect or plan that event? Likewise, what are some stats or metrics that you can use to sprinkle throughout your resume so that I can show so that I can see that not only did you do something, but that you had measurable results and that you know, what measures of success are for that particular job or task? The other thing, the last thing I'll talk about before, you can you can ask more questions is now your good is thinking a little bit about your niche. So it's easy for me to say I conduct training for individuals, right. But thinking more and diving deeper did i do training for large groups of people or do training for smaller groups of people because those are very distinct skill sets, even though training is kind of the the umbrella skill that you have. And the reason I say that that's important is because then you're differentiating yourself and that is your brand. And it might be more relevant to the job that you're applying for. And if not, then you have an opportunity to explain why those skills are transferable. So think a lot about drilling down even deeper than maybe what you have on your resume already. That is another big thing that I work with a lot of people
Jacob Harmon 26:49
and something that I've heard a lot in in resumes and job applications is being specific for the job you're applying for. Do you recommend that We don't have one resume that we send to everyone, but that we actually alter the resume for each job
Marco Yim 27:06
1,000% It's so, so, so important to customize your resume based on the keywords or based on the lingo that the industry uses. You can have one experience and still modify it to those different audiences. I was at a juncture in my career where I was deciding if I want to stay in customer success, or if I wanted to move into trading full time. And, you know, it's softening up some of those languages, the language that you're using, and making sure that you know, there are certain lingo that that's applicable to customer success that won't be applicable to an education field, and just changing a little words here and there to make it feel more customized and personalized.
Jacob Harmon 27:55
So would you just have I mean, would you recommend just having one master resin Me. And then each time you're applying for a job, take the important pieces out of it and create like another document.
Marco Yim 28:06
That's basically what I do I have a master resume and I worked a lot of customers to, like, think a lot about, you know, what's, what are all of the individuals house that you've done any given opportunity or job that you've had. And then, as you said, pulling the right bullet points. So that's kind of the first layer of customization. And then that second customization is then taking, you know, as I said, that relevant lingo and plugging it into the right places, ordering the points within that experience, because if you have three bullet points, what's most relevant, put that up first, so thinking about little things like that can actually make a huge difference to the readability of your resume.
Jacob Harmon 28:44
Okay, super cool. That that makes perfect sense to me. Well, we don't have a whole lot of time left, but um, is there anything else that we haven't talked about so far in this interview or any other tips that you'd like to share with our audience?
Marco Yim 29:00
Yeah, I think, you know, it's really, really important to know yourself intimately. And when you're thinking about your job searching, or public speaking or communications, and relying on what you know about yourself and just have confidence to portray that and say things with certainty, and give yourself enough credit. It's really easy to fall into that, well, I helped a couple people out to do these things. But no, you're actually wholeheartedly a part of that. And if you have to say that you work with a team of three other people, that's okay. So, you know, being really confident in your what you have to offer, and framing it as such is so so, so important. So give yourself credit and be confident when you walk into any interview prep, or interview scenario.
Jacob Harmon 29:56
Okay. That's wonderful advice. Thank you so much. And if people want to connect with you, or maybe reach out to you because they have an upcoming job interview or want to learn how to speak better, what's the best way they can get ahold of you?
Marco Yim 30:08
Yeah, they can reach me on LinkedIn, Marco yem. Or you can email me Marco Mar CEO at extemporary EXTM, pr a.com. and shoot me a message. I'd be happy to chat anytime. Awesome. Well, thank
Jacob Harmon 30:25
you so much, Marco. I'll make sure to put all that in the show notes too. So if you guys just want to go click on a link, you can do that. And thank you, I think I mean, I've learned a lot. So I, I think you gave some incredible information here. Thank you so much.
Marco Yim 30:38
Thanks so much for having me. It was so much fun.
Jacob Harmon 30:41
Of course. Thank you again. Bye. Bye. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of success quest. I'm just going to invite you to do one thing this week and that is to visit our support page on our website. It's my success quest comm slash support. If you like this podcast, if you've learned anything, if you've gained Anything from it. Then, if you go to this page, it will tell you all the different ways you can support us. One of the biggest ways is just by sharing the podcast, right? share it with a friend or family member, but there's also opportunities that are where you can directly support me and Caleb. So, anyways, thank you so much for everything you guys do. Thanks for listening and have a successful day.
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