Unless we are an actor, musician, dancer, acrobat or comedian we tend to think we are not a performer. But there are a great many situations in life where we need to bring the best from ourselves, and it’s horrifying to realise that we may be undermining ourselves at the critical moment with our own postural habits.
Although we are not a performer as such, for every job we apply for, we’ve had to go through the interview process, no matter how informal that may be. And having got the job, we need to improve and expand our capabilities to keep it, never mind when seeking promotion. To reach the highest level it’s important that we portray a high calibre demeanour all of the time and not just for the one critical hour of an interview.
Let’s look at a hypothetical new job interview situation. When we arrive, we are trying to not to appear too anxious, yet be not so laid back that we give an air of indifference. We’ve done our homework, researched the company and got an idea about the role we’ll be expected to perform. We’ve developed some alternative ideas so if asked, we’ll be able to put them across, showing how wizardly creative we are, up to speed on current methods and thinking and can take the job and the company forward. The position carries a hefty salary, executive car, interest free company loan, and other executive perks. We know that if we get the job, we’ll be able to enhance our standard of living considerably. “New home with an extra room or two, afford another baby and the baby sitter, comfortable holidays in the Caribbean…New lifestyle…..here we come!
So we’re a bit keyed up, and when the time comes to walk into the room we may be wiping the sweat from our hands. Who’s got to perform now? The curtain goes up, the lights are on; we are there in front of the interviewers who want to see what we’re made of. We have an impression to make, and it’s that impression that is going to have an influence on their decision about us. We want to do our best, indeed we need to do our best so that we don’t feel that we’ve let ourselves down.
The first few moments of introduction and getting seated are a crucial stage where first impressions are made. Before we’ve even spoken to the person, the way we have walked in and stood is more than 80% of their first impression of us!
Being seated in front of the interviewers is also a slightly unnerving situation, and we don’t know where to put our hands. We may be self conscious and feeling awkward. The tensing in our neck and shoulders and our poor breathing will also weaken our voice.
It doesn’t matter how tall, short or broad we are, or even how elegantly we dress. But it does matter how we carry ourselves. Body language counts for a huge amount, particularly during a first meeting and it cannot be faked as we’re constantly giving off subconscious signals. Even on the surface, if we’re standing rigidly with a stiff neck, stooping and narrowing or hunching across the shoulders, we are likely to look timid, insecure and lacking confidence. Do we give the impression of being up to the job? Given half a chance, is this the impression that we would ideally like to make for ourselves?
I am often asked what are the benefits of having Alexander Technique lessons. OK, it’s commonly known to help with back pain, stiffness and postural problems etc. But in my view it’s about improving how we function overall, and how we ‘use ourselves’ every moment of the day. It’s about improving our whole co-ordination so we can bring the best from ourselves, by eliminating the postural habits that undermine us.
I have known some pupils to even say their lessons in the Alexander Technique actually helped them earn more money.
By improving our poise and restoring our natural upright demeanour, we also feel calmer and more secure in ourselves. We can develop a great speaking voice. We are promotable and worthy of the bigger job.
It’s all about making the most of ourselves and getting the most out of life. Feeling good, doing well…..doing our best all the time. Improving our poise is not just pulling ourselves up straight. We can’t fake it as it all comes from within. Have an Alexander Technique Introductory Lesson to find out more….