Reduce Your Anxiety

Anxiety can place a chokehold on your interview performance. This affliction can be especially deadly during a competency-based interview, when you need to show clear understanding of the questions being asked and remain focused while you provide the answers to those questions. Apprehension usually creeps up when you lack the ability to adapt to the interview setting: you are being "tested," your knowledge or ability is being questioned, you are afraid of failing.

We are all individuals and we have different things that trigger our feelings of anxiety. It is up to you to recognize your own anxiety triggers and learn to minimize them before your heart begins to pound, you feel flushed, or you get tense and start to sweat.

To begin, remind yourself of the preparations you have made to be ready for the interview. There's another step you can take, once your appointment for the interview is set. Many times jobseekers are so excited to get an interview that they forget to ask who they are interviewing with. When you know the name of the interviewer, Google her name to find any information on the Internet regarding interview questions the person normally asks.

Then, you can control your anxiety to some extent by keeping the following thoughts in mind:

Realize that the interviewer wants you to succeed. She wants the search for a hire to end just as much as you want a job offer.

Let go of the dream, and focus on the reality. Don't want the job so desperately before the interview that it clouds your perspective. In truth, you cannot know whether you want the position without discussing the specifics of the job with the hiring manager. For all you know, you may not be impressed by what the company has to offer.

A no result is not necessarily the worst thing that can happen to you because there is nothing worse than accepting a position that is not the right fit. You have probably been stuck in a job in which you did not get along with the manager or your values were not aligned with the corporation; that's a sticky situation and one that causes great stress. Receiving a no at the get-go may avoid that for you.

Improve Your Speaking Voice

Most of us are surprised to hear our own voice—and often we don't like how it sounds. Yet your speaking voice is important for a successful interview, that it not sound harsh or squeaky or even be just too loud or too soft. There's much about your voice you cannot change, but you certainly can make certain you project clarity and confidence at all times.

There are some easy steps you can take to improve the quality of your speaking voice. Beth Mann, of Hot Buttered Media, a full-service media and public relations firm, suggests the following techniques:

Humming. This is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to improve the quality of your voice. Rumor has it that Frank Sinatra used this technique as his only warm-up before singing onstage. To prove its efficacy, speak a sentence prior to humming, then hum for five minutes. Feel your lips vibrate. Hum high, hum low. Then speak the same sentence again. You will notice a cleaner, more forward sound. That is the natural sound and placement of your voice.

Yawning. Could this get any easier? That is right, yawn with sound (that natural "slide" sound from a high note to a low note). Do not feel like yawning? Then fake it. Try this a few times in a row. Notice the relaxed opening in the back of your throat. Most of us restrict this part of our throat, due to stress and fatigue. The idea is to keep the same open "yawn" sensation when we speak throughout the day.

Donkey bray. That is right, donkey bray. (You may want to do this one in private!) Bray like a donkey—let your lips flap together and include sound (similar to the yawn "slide"). Keep your lips loose and relaxed. Do this several times. Follow it up with some facial stretching—smile hard, then relax. Open your face as if to scream, hold for a second, then relax.

Finish up with some gentle head rolls. A relaxed face and neck are necessary vessels for a relaxed, assertive voice.

T-time. Enunciation is one of the weakest elements in most of our speech. Making some small changes in the way you pronounce words can change the way you are perceived. True or not, people who enunciate properly are often considered intelligent and well spoken. So how do you start cleaning up your speech? Say the words notice or little. If you "notice," you probably say something closer to "nodice" and "liddle," For one day, focus on your Ts. You do not have to overdo it; small changes make a big difference.

Let your words breathe. Most of us have a tendency to speak in a "slurry" manner, sliding one word into another. Pretty soon, an entire sentence sounds like one word! Grab your nearest magazine or newspaper and read from it. Exaggerate each word, focusing on the separate quality of each and every word. While you may not want to speak like this on a daily basis, you will get a sense of what true enunciation is all about.

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