Sunday, August 12th, marked the final day of a week-long event that people around the world look forward to every year – in fact, it even has a countdown website! Along with our nation’s Independence Day, Father’s Day, and Flag Day, Shark Week has become a staple of the summer season. First broadcast on July 17, 1987, this week-long television series has grown over the years into a worldwide event that captivates the minds of millions. This year’s Shark Week was bigger than ever; it featured an all new talk show, Shark After Dark, and even investigated the monster, 60-foot relative to the Great White – Megalodon. If you missed it, be sure to catch the next one in 2014!
Have you ever noticed how Shark Week scenarios can be applied to real life? For example, when interviewing for a job, sometimes it can feel like you’ve been dropped into a shark tank! In stressful conditions such as these, it is important to look as calm and confident as possible, even if you don’t feel that way. At Carrington, we believe that our students should be prepared for real-world situations, not only for the classroom. Here are a few tips that will help you put your best “fin” forward!
Through scientific experimentation, Amy Cuddy, a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, discovered an interesting technique for preparing for stressful situations. Cuddy researched the effects of high-power posing on the production of testosterone and cortisol, the hormones that cause feelings of dominance and stress, respectively. For those of you who have not seen her TED Talk on body language, high-power posing generally involves taking up a lot of space – i.e. stretching out the arms, lifting the chin, and puffing out the chest. After test subjects posed in this way for two minutes, lab tests found that they produced 20% more testosterone and 25% less cortisol on average, effectively increasing confidence and reducing stress. Next time you’re preparing an interview or presentation, try power posing for a few minutes beforehand, but remember to keep these poses private – they can come off as a bit obnoxious when in an interview situation!
(The image above shows Roxanne, a Carrington student, using the high-power position dubbed the “Wonderwoman” pose)
It is important to note that body language is a large part of communicating with others. Your interviewers will not only be evaluating what you say, but also how you say it. Someone who stands or sits up straight will appear more confident and relaxed than someone who slouches, a sign of unease. In addition, avoid scratching yourself, fiddling with your hands, or crossing your arms. Aside from looking anxious, Amy Cuddy found that low-power poses such as crossing your arms, covering your mouth, and touching your neck decrease self-confidence and increase stress levels. Also remember to keep your head up and direct your words toward your interviewer, not the wall or the floor!
Words and phrases like “um”, “like”, and “you know” are completely unnecessary in a presentation or interview setting. Some claim that they express uncertainty or anxiety, so err on the safe side and simply pause to collect your thoughts.
The next time you’re dropped into the “shark tank”, remember that Carrington is looking out for you. We know what it feels like to be intimidated in a high pressure situation – we’ve all been there before! After enrolling at Carrington, you will find an excellent Career Services department that is devoted to making sure you “make a splash” and impress employers. Until then, remember to cut out filler words, keep good posture, and power pose when necessary – you’ll be amazed at what you find!
To watch Amy Cuddy’s TED Talk on body language, click the link below.