Feel powerful ahead of an interview or meeting

Whether you have an important job interview or just want to be noticed in your current role – how can you make sure you stand out for all the right reasons? Suzy Greaves finds out and tells you how in seven short steps. Step two, stay away from your smart phone…


Feel powerful ahead of an interview or meeting

When you walk through the door, how do you think you come across? The real truth, says Heidi Grant Halvorson, author of No One Understands You And What To Do About It (Harvard Business Review, £14.99), is that most of us don’t come across the way we intend.

‘We can’t see ourselves objectively. Human beings have a tendency to distort other people’s feedback to fit their own views – which can be a huge problem at work and in your personal life. People may not trust you, may not like you, or may not even notice you as a result of these errors in perception,’ she says.

Last week we looked at why a first impression is a lasting impression. This week we look at power behaviour.

Don't hunch over your smart phone before an important meeting

Hunching over your phone before a meeting or presentation may be self-defeating, because it forces the user into a low-power pose, according to a recent study led by Maarten Bos, then a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard Business School.

Participants were assigned to complete several tasks on one of four gadgets – a hand-held device, tablet, laptop or a desktop computer. Then, the researcher tested subjects’ willingness to interrupt another person – a power-related behaviour. He left each subject alone in the room, saying to come and get him if he didn’t return in five minutes. Subjects who worked on the hand-held device waited significantly longer before interrupting him, compared with those on desktops, and some didn’t come out at all, suggesting their low-power posture sparked feelings of powerlessness.

Before important meetings, leave your phone in your bag and channel Wonder Woman.

Photograph: iStock