Job interview require confidence, and there’s a reason the phrase ‘Fake it till you make it’ is cliched: it’s true. In the words of Shakespeare: if you act like you’re the bee’s tits, then you’ll start to actually BE the bee’s tits (I’m paraphrasing)…
Stand up straight
Robert Phipps, author of Body Language: It’s What You Don’t Say That Matters advises you to note how you’re feeling the next time you’re a bit down: “Take a look at how you’re standing or sitting. Chances are you’ll be slouched over with your shoulders drooping down and inward… this collapses the chest and inhibits good breathing which, in turn, can help make you feel nervous or uncomfortable.” So slouching makes you look nervous, and standing up straight makes you feel good, according to the experts: “Get your posture right and you’ll automatically start feeling better.”
Don’t gesture wildly
The more outgoing the person, the more they gesture and the more introverted, the less they move their arms when talking – so try and strike a balance. “Keep your arms out to the side of your body or behind your back, which shows you are not scared to take on whatever comes your way and you meet things “full frontal”,” says Ben. “Keep your arm movements midway and when you want to come across in the best possible light, crossing the arms is a no-no.”
Maintain eye contact
This is the biggie, and something so many people fall down on. “Maintaining good eye contact shows respect and interest in what they have to say. We tend to keep eye contact around 60-70% of the time,” says Ben. “[which gives people] a feeling of comfort and genuine warmth in your company. Any more eye contact than this and you can be too intense, any less and you give off a signal that you are lacking interest.” So don’t stare too hard, but make sure you’re looking in the person’s eyes a lot more than the floor.
Speak slowly and clearly
We featured a piece a while back on how to present an idea, and make people listen to what you’ve got to say – those tips apply here. “No one respects a whisperer or a mumbler. If you want to be taken seriously, open your mouth and enunciate every word”, writes J.B. Wood in his great article on sounding confident on The High Calling (a careers site for professionals). Everyone throws in the odd “umm” and “ahh”, but keep them in check unless you’re auditioning for the role of Nervous Person in a hit new play. In which case, go mad with them.
Listen twice as much as you talk
Confidence doesn’t mean blabbering on until you pass out (I do this and Fran, our digital content designer, likened me to a “batty old lady” last week). Instead, it means selecting your words and really focusing their intentions. Ben advises: “You’ve got two ears and only one mouth, so try to use them in that order. If you listen twice as much as you talk, you come across as a good communicator who knows how to strike up a balanced a conversation without being ‘me, me, me’ or the wallflower.”
On Twitter, we asked you for a few of your FITYMI (Fake it till you make it, for those not so good with overly long and complex acronyms) tips. From smiling to channelling an inspiration character from a movie, check them out here…
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