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THE SJSU MA DIARIES

  • Nika Sison

Level Up: Boosting Your Confidence Just Got Easier

Butterflies in your stomach? Nervous jitters? Here’s the game plan to become cool, calm, and collected during your next interview.

Photo courtesy of Christina via Unsplash.


Speaking to a new crowd can always make people nervous. Even the people who seem most confident in the spotlight can get the last-minute, nervous jitters. They are just really good at hiding them!


Anyone can be a master of disguise. All it takes is a little practice.


Getting rid of those jitters when you’re presenting or interviewing is actually easier than you think. Here are some of my rituals that I picked up while interviewing with different companies over the winter. Hopefully it will help you as much as it helped me!


Make a Confidence Playlist


Photo courtesy of Lee Campbell via Unsplash.


Whether it’s your workout playlist or your hype playlist, I highly suggest making a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music that makes you feel good. You set the tone for your interview or presentation. Might as well create a happy mood.


Putting yourself in a good mood will make it easier for you to smile and relax during your interviews. Consider this playlist as the drop in a ripple effect of good vibes and a warm, welcoming aura. Not only will you be slightly more comfortable in the otherwise stressful situation, your interviewer will be, too. Interviewers are looking for people who can have a good conversation and get along with others.


For all my sailor mouths out there: do not add songs with curse words if you frequently use them. It is unprofessional to blurt them during an interview, so make an effort to get rid of the habit. The less you hear them, the less likely you will say them. Train yourself, stat!


Do Some Power Poses


Photo courtesy of Leon Ell’ via Unsplash.


I cannot stress how important your body language impacts people’s perception of you. If you are nervous or insecure, people will know just by looking at how you sit or stand. Slouched shoulders are simply a no-no.


When you do a power pose for 30 seconds, such as putting your hands on your hips (otherwise known as the “Wonder Woman”), your demeanor will change. You will appear happier and more confident. Flex those muscles, stand tall, straighten your back. Do any pose that you think is powerful, and you will get an extra jolt of energy that no cup of coffee can ever give.


For more information on the impact of body language, check out this TED talk by Amy Cuddy. I always turn back to this video from time to time, and so should you.


Get Goofy

Photo courtesy of Austin Pacheco via Unsplash.


Yes, you read that correctly. Coming from an overthinker, I highly recommend you loosen up a little by goofing around. Thinking too deeply about a situation can put you in a rabbit hole of self-doubt, anxiety, and stress. Negative thoughts are the last thing you should have in your head. You should only be setting yourself up for success.


People also like to think that interviews and presentations have to be serious and formal. Guess what? You can be taken seriously while having fun and smiling. Show your true self and have fun with the interview or speaking process.


Get rid of those jitters by cutting loose. I personally love dancing and jamming to my confidence playlist. Even singing to myself in the mirror or through my laptop camera can serve as a self affirmation exercise. If you think you can’t sing or dance well, just do it anyway. You’re doing these goofy rituals so that you can have fun and clear your mind. Have fun with it!


Breathing Exercises

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Even when I do all of the other previous actions, sometimes my heart can still be racing inside. When you feel stressed, don’t forget to take a big breath. People tend to underestimate the power of taking time to do some breathing exercises. Slowing down your heart rate will create a calm environment, which is what you need when you are about to present or be interviewed.


Some people like to do short inhalations with one long exhale. Others like to breathe in one nostril and exhale in the other. The perfect breathing exercise can vary for anyone. My personal go-to is to deeply inhale for about 5 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, and do a deep exhale for about 7 seconds.


Doing these slow exercises can make you feel better by slowing down your heart rate. Focus on your breathing during the exercise. Empty your mind and focus on the present.


Self Affirmations

Photo courtesy of Prateek Katyal via Unsplash.


Manifesting your success really starts with you. I’m talking about what you say, what you think, and even what you do. Even if you have a strong support system, you need to make sure that you are your #1 fan. Your confidence can only radiate when you believe in your potential.


Right before you hop into your interview or present to an audience, I suggest saying any of the following phrases in the mirror:

  • I believe in you.

  • You are confident, and you got this.

  • You are capable.

  • You are worthy of success.


Say these lines as much as you need to in order to hype yourself up. If sentences aren’t your thing, consider having a go-to song for a quick pick-me-up. My personal favorites are “You Got It” by Vedo and “As I Am” by H.E.R. The songs are both upbeat and can always lighten the mood! It is impossible to listen to these songs and not feel good.


Do the Most

Having a pre-presentation or interview ritual does wonders not just towards your performance, but your own confidence. I can say that doing these actions habitually has made me more outgoing in social situations and made me appreciate myself and my skills. Life is easier when you turn stage fright into your strength.


Even if you don’t get the results you want, what’s more important is that you did your very best to show up and stand out. Do what you need to do to make sure you gave your 100%.


Do you have any other rituals to do before interviews or presentations? Let us know in the comments so that we can help more Spartans get their dream jobs.