Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thinking about interviews makes me feel sick

Benny from Fluent in 3 Months recently wrote an interesting post discussing confidence from the perspective of someone learning to speak a new language.  In "Fake it 'till you make it"  he gives some good tips on confidence building that are equally applicable to someone going for an interview,  making a presentation at work, returning faulty merchandise and myriad other things.

Benny discusses self produced confidence

My approach to get what I want is to presume from the START that it’s going to happen. I then just follow the path that is most likely going to lead to that result.
There is no “maybe” in my mind. When I start a language mission, I presume from day onethat I am going to be successful. This isn’t arrogance – it’s a crucial part of the strategy to make it happen. Any doubt is going to do me no good, so why should I embrace it as most people would?

and he goes on to make the observation that "Negative self-fulfilling prophecies work really well, so I'm just doing the same thing for positive ones".

Over the years, I've heard many interesting excuses from people about how they are unable to attend interviews for jobs and courses because they don't have the confidence. They expect to go to jelly - and they're missing fantastic opportunities as a result. Their negative self fulfilling prophecies are alive and well, and extremely unhelpful. Whilst Benny is pretty full on, he's got a point and it's certainly worth thinking about for your next interview.

My additional suggestion if you are particularly unsure of yourself would be to find a trusted person to work with who can give you reliable feedback.  As I said above this could be a valuable technique for interviews, presentations and other daily activities that require you to appear confident even if it's not how you feel inside.

A technique I used a couple of years ago when I was teaching business students to make workplace presentations, was to suggest they adopt as many positive mannerisms as possible from the most confident person they admired for the 5 minutes of the presentation.  Each presenter was then asked to rate their level of butterflies/nerves/sickinthestomach/fear/sweaty palms etc. The audience (the other students) were requested to give honest feedback on their apparent confidence. It was abundantly clear to every student participating that it IS possible to feel horrendously nervous, yet APPEAR to be in control.

For many of us it's a matter of learning a few techniques that work for you and applying them. We can still feel unsure and insecure, but come across confidently.

What do you think?

No comments: