Enroll

Look powerful, Feel Powerful: A Piece of Advice for Interviews (and Other Nerve-Racking Events)

Picture yourself waiting for an important interview that could be the ticket to that internship you’ve always wanted, or to that dream school with the most beautiful campus. Do you see yourself feeling nervous? Are you doing what I tend to do; curling into fetal position with sweaty hands?

I hope that I am not the only one who gets awfully nervous in such scenarios. I think it’s fair to say that many of us go through some kind of preparation before going into such interviews having at least a rough idea of what we should or should not say. A lot of our energy seems to be exerted and focused into our speech. But have you ever given a moment to think about how your body language prior to walking into that interview room may affect whether you get that position or not?

Many people say we should appear confident in an interview. They tell us to keep our backs straight and maintain eye-contact. I do believe these are the fundamentals of Interviewing 101, but research done by Dr. Amy Cuddy suggests that paying attention to our body language before the interview even begins, could really help us out. And no, I do not mean that the interviewers are watching us in the waiting room through surveillance cameras!

Dr. Cuddy is a social psychologist who shared her insightful research findings related to the many ways in which body language influences us. (If you have an interview coming up, do yourself a favor and search for her TED Talk on Youtube!) According to her, our body language not only affects those who are watching us, but also ourselves as well. Having a bad day? Force yourself to smile and you’ll essentially force your body to give off ‘happy signals’ and eventually, you’ll reach a mental state of happiness. This is true with power and confidence too – if you act as if you’re powerful (by spreading your arms and pretending you’re a bear), you’d feel more powerful than if you were to act less powerful (cue fetal position).

There’s a Japanese saying, “病は気から” [yamai wa ki kara], which literally translates to sickness comes from feeling. This suggests that the mere act of expecting to feel sick can make us feel ill In other words, our minds can influence our bodies. However, according to Dr. Cuddy, the opposite could be true as well. Our body language can affect our minds!

So what’s the take-home message? Before an interview or an exam, make yourself feel confident and powerful through your body language and posture. In the words of Dr. Cuddy, “Fake it till you make it”. Even if you feel like curling into a ball, take several minutes to trick your body (and eventually your mental state) into thinking you are going to ace this!

Moeka Komachi

About Moeka Komachi

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." - Maya Angelou

Moeka Komachi

Top Posts | Health & Well-being

Basics and Benefits of Acupuncture

As a method to alleviate some of the symptoms of my chronic illness, I’ve turned to traditional Chinese medicine. Last year, acupuncture wasn’t something I was open to trying because I believed it only relieved pain. Fortunately, it’s relieved my difficulty sleeping and cured my d ... ...

3 Benefits of Meditation

Are you stressed out? Are you struggling to center yourself? Have you ever thought of meditating? Meditation is a very broad term. You do not have to lay down on a mat with your eyes closed to experience the benefits of meditation. Meditation can simply be defined as letting go of your thought ... ...

5 Creative Ways to Enjoy the Wilderness

Families who live in or near wilderness areas already know the power these places have on health and creativity. Hiking in a seemingly endless forest is one of the great joys of living near a wilderness area. However, these hikes can start to lose their luster, especially for teens raised in the vi ...

The Health Benefits of Expressive Writing

As I write this, I might be improving my health. I know that expressive writing—creative writing and writing in my journal before bedtime—is good for my mental health, but I wondered if others benefit mentally or even physically from writing. I investigated this and learned people have ... ...

Kick Starting Love for Nature

One thing you must have noticed already (often with annoyance) that your child has a lot of curiosity about almost everything around. There is no end to questions like: “Why is Mr. Smith across the street always sick?’, “What happens to the cat that doesn’t catch a mouse?&rd ... ...

Recess Returns!

For thirty years, school children in Chicago have never experienced recess. Awful, isn’t it? Recess was taken out because it was considered as a waste of time. But don’t be too gloomy there, there is good news – recess is back.Recess is referred to as a break period or a break fro ... ...

A Move for a Healthy School

When it comes to primary school children, their safety and health is always a major concern for parents. Schools take extra care in making sure that the environment in which children grow is a healthy and secure one. Everything from the colors affecting the children's mental processes to the ch ... ...