Could squeezing your buttocks or reciting a nursery rhyme help you beat interview nerves? Here are some more unusual ways to keep calm under pressure.
Nerves tend to make us speed up, so while you’re waiting for your interview, breathe in through your nose very slowly for a count of three. Then breathe out through your nose for a count of three. Repeat this three times. That should take you a total of 18 seconds. In that time you will have significantly lowered your heart rate and when you speak, you’ll find you won’t rush.
Simply squeeze your buttocks or your thigh muscles. It’s almost physically impossible to have shaky hands if your buttocks or your thigh muscles are clenched. This technique will help you feel and appear more confident – and most clothes will completely mask your actions.Stop your voice shaking
Open your throat by sticking your tongue out as far as it will go, and try to say the whole of the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme out loud. This will open the back of the throat and you’ll sound more confident and have more authority. Of course, you should do this before the interview – not in front of the panel.
Stand up while you wait
You will often be shown into a boardroom before an interview and offered a seat while you wait. Don’t take it. You don’t want their first impression of you to be struggling up out of a chair, so stay standing. You’ll look more confident if you are on their level as you first meet them.
Find your best sitting position
Firstly, never trust the back of a chair. You can easily end up leaning too far back which can tighten your throat. I recommend leaning slightly forward on your chair. You’ll look and feel more dynamic if you sit in this position.
Show your hands
It has been proved that we are much more likely to get a job if we have our hands visible on the table in front of us rather than hiding our under the table. Showing our hands is a sign of honesty.
Make the other person feel special
Many people try too hard in a job interview and end up merely bigging themselves up. We have all been bored by other people going on about themselves without being the slightest bit interested in us. Remember to ask questions – and be genuinely interested in the reply. Obviously it’s important to look keen and passionate about the job on offer but try not to simply blow your own trumpet too much.
When we’re crippled with fear and in full flight or fight mode, we find it hard to listen and often answer the wrong question. So try to slow down your body’s natural responses and listen – it will also help to make the other person feel special and show you value their question.
Use your own voice
Try to use your own voice rather than putting on a formal public speaking voice. Often this is as simple as not speaking too loudly. Speak as if you were talking with a group of friends.
If we are being ourselves when meeting other people, we will come across as relaxed, authentic and confident. Try to use words you usually use.
So, enjoy the interview and be proud of your achievements – you’re already on the shortlist so they must think pretty highly of you already. Remember to slow down, listen and be yourself. If you do that, you’ll come across as relaxed, authentic and confident. Job done.
Robin Kermode is author of Speak So Your Audience Will Listen – 7 steps to Confident and Successful Public Speaking.
Thanks to The Guardian for allowing icould.com to republish this article. You can view the original version on the Guardian website.
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See icould’s interview section for more tips and advice.