Picture this with me, you spend hours preparing for a job interview researching the company, crafting the perfect answers, and show up thinking you’re ready. But during the interview, the interviewers are not impressed because you stumble over your words, your body language is distracting, and you’re unable to convince them due to your lack of presentation skills. All your preparation goes down the drain as a result, and you leave the meeting defeated. But what if I told you there is one simple thing you can do to improve your interview presentation skills by ten times?
In this article, I'm going to reveal the secret technique that top job candidates use to wow interviewers and stand out from the competition. But even outside of the interview context, following this tip will help you Impress any audience, leave a lasting impression and significantly increase your ability to influence people in any context. So, get ready to unleash your full potential and take your career to the next level!”
To improve your presentation skills, what is the first thing you need? Before you can change or work on anything, you need to first clearly be aware of what it is that you need to change. Would you agree?
Before you dismiss me as Captain Obvious, let me ask you, do you know exactly how you communicate? Do you know what you look like? What you sound like to other people? How often you use filler words like um’s and ah’s? How confident or nervous do you come across to others? How about eye-contact? Do you know exactly where you look when you speak?
One of the biggest reasons it’s so difficult to improve one’s own presentation skills is because most of us are simply not aware of how we sound or look from others' perspectives. And that is what we are going to fix today.
So what is the secret to 10x’ing your ability to present?
It’s by recording yourself speaking on video and then watching yourself!
I know… so simple… But if you have never done this before (or never done this properly), I guarantee that this will be a complete game-changer. By doing this, you will know exactly how you communicate so that you can identify areas for improvement and work on them.
To record yourself, you don’t need any fancy equipment. All you need is your smartphone. And you don’t even need a tripod. Just place your phone at the eye level, look into the camera lens as if you’re making eye contact with the interviewer, and speak. That’s all you need to do, and Anyone can do it.
For the rest of this article, I will delve into what areas you should pay attention to as you watch the playback of yourself and how you can refine them.
During an interview, your body language will speak volumes. Are you slouching or leaning back in your chair? This can make you appear disinterested or unenthusiastic. Are you crossing your arms, which can make you seem defensive or closed off?
Interviews can be nerve-wracking, and it's not uncommon for candidates to have nervous habits that they may not even realize, such as playing with your hair, tapping your foot, shaking your legs, and fidgeting with fingers all of which could be quite distracting and take away from the message you’re trying to convey.
Next, do you smile at all? A little bit of a smile could go a long way in helping you look friendly and welcoming. But of course, you don’t want to do so excessively either, as you may not be taken seriously, in which case you may want to work on keeping a straight face more often.
And this is really the power of this tip. By recording yourself and watching the playback, you can recognize these habits you would otherwise not be able to, and so you can work on eliminating them.
How often do you use filler words like “um” and “ah” or “you know”, etc.? And it doesn’t necessarily have to be filler words. Some people clear their throats repeatedly when they are nervous, and these are some of the things to look out for.
Having said that, you don’t have to feel like you have to get rid of them all. It’s only natural to use some filler words or clears your throat once in a while. What you want to do is recognize if you are doing these things too much without your knowledge. That’s really the point.
For me personally, I used to say “um” and “you know” all the time. And I still do, but I use them much less frequently now after having seen myself speak many times ?
An effective tip to reduce filler words is learning to pause without saying anything. It does take some getting used to but pausing during your speech can help you emphasize important points and give the listener time to absorb what you're saying better. Pausing can also give you time to collect your thoughts and stay composed.
I’m sure you know that making good eye contact during an interview is crucial to building rapport with the interviewer and demonstrating confidence. We all know this, but it’s much easier said than done when we are in a high-pressure environment.
The best way to have better eye contact is… PRACTICE! And you can do exactly that as you record yourself. Try to look at the camera lens as you speak, as if you’re making eye contact with the interviewer. In the beginning, it will be uncomfortable, but it will feel increasingly more natural as you keep practicing.
Another thing to watch out for is your eye movement. Some nervous habits include distracting eye movements. For example, I know some people who close their eyes completely as they speak because they are thinking about what to say. I have also seen people who blink continuously, look up really high, or do other unnatural-looking movements. Again, you may not need to get rid of these things 100%. Rather, you want to be aware of the habits you display so that you can improve them if you choose.
The last point: Speech patterns
Do you tend to speak too quickly or too slowly during an interview? Do you have a tendency to ramble or get off-topic? Most people do not know these about themselves. Perhaps you speak with a monotone and need more inflections in your speech (or the opposite may be true for you!)
As mentioned before, if you speak too quickly, pausing during your speech can help you emphasize important points and give the interviewer time to absorb what you're saying so you can leave a more lasting impression.
By watching the playback, you can identify any patterns in your speech and work on improving them as you see fit.
By seeing yourself as others see you (and, in a sense putting yourself in other people’s shoes), you can make the necessary changes to improve your body language, tone of voice, facial expressions and etc. This will help you come across as more confident, engaging, and professional not only during interviews but in any important meetings.