Posted by: kenwbudd | March 1, 2011

How Introverts can Convey Confidence at Interviews

What can you do to convey confidence at interviews, both verbally and nonverbally? Improve their presentation skills and job interview skills, by following these ten tips, with some special insights for introverts.

1. Rest up, prepare, and practice.
This simple rule works for everyone and anyone. However, introverts benefit more by resting up during a sel imposed quiet or preparation time, to refuel their social energy.

Preparation and practice are essential for introverts, because they are more thoughtful in their responses and less inclined than extroverts, to respond quickly on our feet.

Also, they like to concentrate fully on one task ata time and are therfore, not multi-taskers by nature. So the better they prepare communications for job interviews, negotiations, presentations, and other meetings, the more likely you’ll come across as confident.

2. Make a positive first impression.
Decades of research in social psychology illustrate the surprising power of first impressions. From contexts as diverse as evaluating classroom teachers, selecting job applicants, or predicting the outcomes of court cases, human judgments made on the basis of a ‘thin slice’ of observational data can be highly predictive of subsequent evaluations.

This is particularly important for introverts who don’t make friendly connections quickly. Instead, they are more cautious, taking time to build relationships over a longer time.

That’s acceptable in normal life but at job interviews you nned to make an instant impact and consider how you come across, your appearance and demeanour or attitude, the moment you walk through the door.

3. Keep your emotions cool.
Great leaders are in control and don’t get agitated. They don’t shout and scream and they don’t have tantrums. They control and, in some way to conceal emotions. They are respectful and don’t belittle others in public, they are calm, responsive and empathetic. These things can be learned and practiced offline and fit comfortably with being introverted.

4. Listen attentively.
Introverts spend more time listening than talking. Use the information you are gathering to your advantage. Collate it and start forming intelligent questions to ask. Write them down as they occur, for future use and as an indication that you are being attentive. You’ll come across as interested, informed and more confident. We need to ask questions to learn more but also to show interest and empathy.

5. Stand up.
If you sitting at your desk and a more extroverted person enters your office. Stand up, it shows respect and puts you on an equal footing. How you stand is also important but that is a separate blog on it’s own. Sufficient to say, this is your space, you control what happens there and you should stand your ground with relaxed confidence.

6. Command your space.
Take commnad of your space and use it confidently and comfortably. Don’t coil up and shrink, spread out but don’t sprawl. You can easily extend your space by gesturing and extending your arms. Practice this to get attention in a busy shop, you will be suprised as to how much more attention you will receive.

7. Stand with your feet slightly apart.
Some Psychologists recommend a wide stance with one foot forward pointing in a direction to suggest “some dynamic motion” If you want more excellent information on Body Language, do some research on Joe Navarro. His writing is a treasure trove of information on the language of the feet, legs, arms and hands.

Navarro believes that feet are the most honest part of the body because, as he says in the book, “the behaviour is a limbic brain response that has been hardwired into our nervous system during an evolutionary period that spans millions of years.” Consequently, our brains are unconsciously attentive and responsive to the position of other people’s feet.

8. Interact and interject.
Extroverts enjoy the cut and thrust of boisterous meetings and lively networking events but these can be especially challenging for introverts.

How can you project confidence in these events? You need to be seen and heard. You need to join the throng! Interaction only comes from interjection, in these cases.

Lean forward, raise a finger, hand or arm, depending on the level of excitement at the event. Make good eye contact with the person speaking, say her or his name, smile, and just jump in.

You may not like to interrupt anymore than you like to be interrupted. However, if you don’t interject, you can appear worse than under-confident, you’ll become invisible and irrelevant.

9. Modulate your voice.
A simple mistake at job interviews is betraying their nervousness by speaking at a monotonous, boring and impassionate level. Relax your voice and practice “punching” key words. You’ll sound more compelling and you’ll come across as more passionate and confident.

10. Avoid verbal filler.
Speech hesitation is not the same as a pause. There is nothing worse than listening to someone um-ing and er-ing at an interview. Avoid punctuating your speech with um, er, you know, like, and other dialectic fillers, which makes you sound less than confident and more lightweight.

If you need extra time to compose your thoughts a little, which is not unusual for introverts, simply say, “Let me think about that for a moment” or “That’s a compelling question. Let me ponder on it for a moment.” You can also ask the interviewer for more information or to explain the question more.

If you are feeling a little lost or confused during the interview, try turning it back on the interviewer by asking; “Why is that issue so important to what you’re trying to achieve in the organisation?” This should trigger a short respite for you and will provide you with more information to construct a response.

In conclusion, prepare well for any important events and look your best; arrive early and go through your confident relaxation routine; be aware of your posture and your voice; control your space and try to enjoy the opportunity to share your knowledge and views.

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