In a competitive job market where you’ll often be tied with other candidates on a skills/experience basis, it can be useful to have something unique that sets you apart from the crowd. Sometimes, no matter how great a candidate’s level of experience is, there is something else that creates a connection between interviewer and interviewee. The image you’re able to project during an interview is largely down to your ability to speak with confidence and the level of comfort you can show in a high-pressure situation.
However, for many of us, public speaking is first and foremost one of our greatest fears. Having to prepare for an interview can conjure up fears similar to those of having to speak in front of a group people. But if you’re able to clearly articulate your thoughts and inspire confidence in others, you’ll be well on your way to impressing potential employers.
If the thought of interviewing puts you in a nervous disposition and you can feel the sweaty palms coming, you can adopt these public speaking tips to help you nail your next interview.
If you’ve ever taken the time to watch a TED talk, regardless of the subject matter, you feel drawn into what they’re saying, intrigued to hear more. It’s always because the content is awe inspiring, it’s because they’re excellent public speakers. Watch a few Simon Sinek, Tony Robbins or Gary Vaynerchuk talks. Analyse what it is that keeps you watching. The way they break up content, express enthusiasm and engage the audience. There’s nothing stopping you taking a little something from these experts and applying it to your next interview.
This can be an especially important point should you be in an interview panel situation. Making sure you’re making your point to an audience member as opposed to the space around them will do wonders to getting them engaged with what you’re saying. If you are being interviewed by a panel, scanning and panning is the strategy to adopt though. Take the time to share at least a sentence with each person rather than darting between people. This will help establish a connection between you and make you less nervous where you feel you have to keep looking at the whole audience. If you’re lucky enough to only be interviewed by one sole interviewer, make sure you establish eye contact early on. You may come across and nervous if you’re constantly looking around the room.
Whilst confidence, in general, is something that might come naturally to you, enthusiasm is something completely different and can be difficult to express. If you’re a confident person but are struggling to articulate what makes you feel enthusiastic about the opportunity, before your interview, take the time to write down a few reasons why you’d enjoy the job and what in particular stands out about it as a great opportunity.
We’re all guilty of it when we’re nervous, we can sometimes speak so fast it’s impossible to understand the point we’re trying to get across. As your heart rate increases when you’re nervous, so too does your voice. But when you’re nervous you tend to forget that the person opposite is there to hear what you have to say, and will patient to hear it. Be sure to actively take extended pauses when appropriate between words and between sentences. Not only will this work to emphasize the point you’re making, but will make you feel more relaxed as you get an opportunity to take a breath and think about what you’re about to say.
Coming across as confident and proactive is something you’ll want to achieve no matter what your skill set or industry. A quick and easy way to do this is to make use of active verbs rather than speculative statements. Using statements like ‘I will’ and ‘I can’ as opposed to ‘I would’ or ‘I could’ helps to remove any doubt about your credentials. It shows that you’re confident that you’ve got what it takes to do the job well and offers a much stronger sentiment than ‘could’ ‘might’ or ‘would’.