With spring on the horizon, there’s no better time to think about making positive changes to your life – whether that means getting fit, decluttering your home or finding a new job.
If a career change is on your mind, help is at hand in the form of communication expert Lindsay Maclean who claims techniques including ‘power posing’ could be the key to helping you unlock your potential.
In her new book, Lindsay explains how her unconventional methods – which include singing and looking in the mirror – can help you land your dream role.
‘The most common piece of advice, and in my view, the worst piece of advice when you go for an interview is “Just be yourself,”’ says Lindsay.
Singing is a wonderful way of bringing out the musicality in your voice, says Lindsay Maclean who has revealed her top tips for confident communication skills (file photo)
‘But, how many of you find that you can just naturally rock up, breeze through, reveal your wittiest, intelligent, amazing and inspiring self when you’re under pressure?
‘Being yourself is complicated. In reality “yourself” is someone who could crumble in an interview, “yourself” is someone who could feel so nervous you forget everything you’ve ever done.
‘”Yourself” is someone who feels so overwhelmed with the pressure of the interview that your personality deserts you and you spend the whole time wishing a helicopter could transport you out of there.’
Communication expert Lindsay Maclean, pictured, claims techniques including ‘power posing’ could be the key to helping you unlock your potential and land your dream job
Step 1 – Preparation
Here are some tips to help you recreate the best version of yourself when you’re in the interview:
Be crystal clear on WHY you want the job
Why do you want this particular role? Why do you want to work for this company? Write down your reasons (think beyond paying the rent or mortgage). This will give you the focus you need when you’re under pressure and help you answer any question related to the ‘why’ (which you will almost always come up in an interview).
Write down the skills that are required for the job (these often come with the job description and if not, then do some research) and next to each skill write down an example that strengthens your case. This will help you when you’re asked about skills and provide the potential employer with evidence.
Use your MIRROR
Use this genius bit of equipment. Take a few moments by yourself, stand in front of the mirror and imagine what it would be like if you had a light switch inside you that turned off and on.
What happens to your facial expressions when you turn it on? How does this naturally alter your body language and facial expressions? If you imagine that you’re turning this light on when you go to your interview, it will give naturally give you a lift, a glow and a positive infectious energy.
Want to master the power pose? Tweak your body language, shoulders back, chest out, imagine a piece of string attached from the top of your head to the ceiling and get yourself into a powerful position, says Lindsay Maclean (file photo)
FILM yourself and watch it back
Film yourself talking about your strengths and watch it back. Between 60 and 90% of your impact is communicated through your body language and the sound of your voice.
So, it’s important to be aware of how you’re coming across. How do you think you looked and sound when talking? …Alive? Awake? Shy? Miserable? Cold? Personable? Enthusiastic? Engaged? Natural?
Singing is a wonderful way of bringing out the musicality in your voice. By musicality in your voice, I’m referring to the diverse range and pitch. This will help you avoid being the robot with the monotonous voice, so belt out the tunes while you’re getting ready for the interview.
Step 2 – Completing the interview
Try a POWER POSE
I love Amy Cuddy’s popular TED talk encouraging you to do some power posing just before you enter an interview. By this she means tweak your body language, shoulders back, chest out, imagine a piece of string attached from the top of your head to the ceiling and get yourself into a powerful position.
Her research indicates that, by doing this for two minutes before the interview, you can increase your testosterone levels and walk in feeling more powerful. Her research, like any research, has been questioned, but I’ve had several years’ experience in this industry and I’ve seen how this really can make a positive impact.
One thing I would say, practice in the mirror some time before the interview so that you don’t end up imitating a pumped-up superman or a crazed superwoman in the interview!
When it comes to meeting someone for the first time, first impressions are key, says Lindsay Maclean, so make sure it’s ‘strong and confident’ to set the tone (file photo)
Master the SHAKE AND HELLO
Always take control and shake someone’s hand when you say hello. First impressions are key. Practice that beforehand. If it’s a strong confident handshake you’ll set a confident tone. If you are caught off guard, if it’s limp or too harsh it could give the wrong impression. Use it to connect with the person or people interviewing you. Don’t worry about sweaty hands at all. Just aim for confidence.
Don’t forget to SMILE
Lindsay’s book Speak Up & Be Heard is out now, priced £10.99 at amazon.co.uk
Smile at everyone you meet along the way to the interview, especially the receptionists and security guards – you never know the role they can play in getting you the job, plus smiling will lift your mood.
Breathing and going wrong
Never underestimate the power of breath and its relationship with voice. If your breathing is shallow, it may distort the way you speak. Make sure that you are breathing from the bottom of your stomach to ensure long, smooth breaths. Worth researching this before hand if you struggle with this. If you go wrong, say the wrong thing, never worry. Breathe, carry on doing the best you can.
End with a positive, upbeat statement
Leave them with a positive upbeat statement, for example, “Thank you, I’ve enjoyed our meeting and I look forward to hearing from you.”
Don’t forget it’s YOUR interview too
Remember you are interviewing them too. Use the time to find out as much as you can about the role, what a typical day looks like, what development they offer – anything you want to know. They’ll appreciate your interest.