Could your body language be the key to interview confidence?

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 by: Anne-Marie Kane

Does your self-confidence let you down at interview? What would you say if I told you that you could change the way you feel simply by changing your posture?

Amy Cuddy is Associate Professor of Business Administration in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit at Harvard Business School. She believes that our body language has as much impact on ourselves as it does the people observing us. (If you haven’t yet watched her TEDTalk on the topic, do so.)

What is a power pose?

Cuddy calls it ‘power posing’ which is standing in a confident pose even when you’re not feeling confident. Creatures of all species do it. It’s about taking up space and making yourself appear as big as possible. Think of cats or dogs when they are about to fight. Their fur stands up on end and their tails bush out, thick and wide. They look bigger and more formidable.  It seems that we humans can do the same thing (minus the tail.)

How does it change our thinking?

Interestingly, there is evidence that this change of body language also has an impact on what’s going on in our heads. Standing in a posture of confidence affects the release of testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain. These are the hormones that influence our sense of power and our stress levels. As our brains are flooded with these chemicals, we begin to feel more in control and are less affected by stress.

How long does it take to work?

Research has shown that it only takes two minutes of standing in a power pose for us to feel the effects of the changes in the brain. Two minutes is enough to help people begin to feel confident and powerful.

How can you use this technique to boost your confidence before your next interview?

Before the interview, find a quiet space and try standing like a superhero, with legs spread wide, hands on hips and your head held high. You only need to hold the position for two minutes and you will notice a difference. By standing with confidence, you are convincing yourself that you really are confident, and your brain responds accordingly. You have given the signal your brain needs to kick into gear.

What difference will the technique make?

Instead of creeping nervously into the interview, you will stand tall and straight, with an open posture, and you will give out and impression of confidence.

When you consider that people form their first impression of you within a couple of seconds, you will understand how the outcome of an interview could be influenced before you even enter the interview room.

Once you begin the interview you should be feeling calm. Your heart won’t be racing nor will you feel as breathless as you normally do. The hormones are doing their job, helping you stay calm in the face of stress. You will think more clearly, therefore you’ll be able to give better responses to the interviewers’ questions.

Now, this isn’t a miracle solution that will win you the job; you still need to demonstrate that you are the best person for the position. What it will do, however, is give you the confidence boost that you need, right when you most need it.

Are you prepared to try out this technique?  If you have already tested it, leave a comment telling us how it worked for you. We would love to know how it worked for you.

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To learn about Anne-Marie Kane the author of this article [click here].