- Sweaty palms
- Butterflies in your stomach, lots of them
- Unconscious shaking of the leg
- Mindless clicking of the pen
- The feeling that your body is being flushed
Please continue reading if you have faced any of the above, ever, in all the years on this planet. (In case you haven’t, please drop us a personal message, superhuman! Kryptonian, you have a blessed body language.)
All of these are signs of varying degrees of nervousness. We can bet that even the coolest person you know has felt a tiny bit nervous (if not more) before walking in for an interview, and you are no different in this regard. This could be a job interview, or a personal interview for admission into a college, or even a meeting which needs you to be supremely confident.
Well, I think we have established that everybody is bound to feel nervous. The question is what can you do about it?
The good news is that social psychologists and body language experts have found that certain body postures help us gain confidence by tricking our brain into believing that it is powerful and in control. Scroll through this list to take a look at the same. This has been scientifically proven, but you don’t have to take our word for it – try it yourself!
Note: You are advised to practice the same for two minutes right before the interview. You could do so by slipping to the restroom or finding any private area where you can be alone. You could also practice this at home for long term benefits.
- Stand with your arms outstretched, forming a V position. Your legs should be wide apart and your chin slightly lifted. Picture athletes right after they have won a race, it is when they feel most invincible.
- Take up a power position. Your hands should be on your hips and your legs firmly apart. If there is a mirror, look at yourself and say “Yes, I can. Of course, I can. I can and I will!” Challenge yourself!
- When you are sitting, raise your hands and join them at the back of your head. Lean back.
- Along with #3, if you can, stretch your legs. Place your heels on the table, or simply fold on the knee to make it rest on the other. The idea is to expand and occupy as much space as possible. Ever noticed how Salman Khan sits?
- In public, when you’re surrounded by people, no point raising your arms and suddenly shouting “Hallelujah” is there? Tone it down. Just lift your chin and walk with your back straight. This is to counter the effect that nervousness has on people: We tend to crouch or shrink into ourselves, hoping to become less visible to other people. So counterfeit by doing the following posture.
- The converse of the 5th point is also true. So if you ever feel the need to be less aggressive, change your body language accordingly. Sit with hands on your knees. Do not occupy too much space.
- If you are trying to convince somebody of an idea and need them to agree with you but they are standing with their arms crossed at their chest, they’re actually not into the idea. You have to get them to uncross their arms so that they become more open and ready to listen to you. Achieve this by simply handing them something to hold while talking to them – a pen or a book. Interesting, right?
- When in a meeting or a discussion, place your hands on the back of the chair. This shows that you are relaxed and in control.
- Your handshake is more than just about the shake. Make sure to grasp the hand of the other person firmly (without hurting them). Do not be limp about it, make sure it is not a touch-and-go handshake (which will probably show you’re either nervous or non-committal)
- We know you’ve been expecting this last point all along because you’re told about it always. But there’s a good reason and it’s sally worth it. Smile even when you would rather be howling. The trick is to ‘trick’ the brain into thinking that you are all right 😉
These should be effective in reducing your stress levels and ensuring you ace interviews. All the best!
Also, if you have time do checkout these curated videos related to body language which would help you:
1. Checkout this super-interesting TED talk by Professor Amy Cuddy of Harvard Business School on body language!
2. Body language tricks to make anyone instantly like you!
3. Body Language tutorial
4. Body language that gets the job! The title says it all 😉
5. Body Language traits you would find in confident people!