You’ve done your homework. You’re ready for your audition. Now it’s time to stand in the spotlight.
Role-playing with your coach or trusted friend can, initially, feel just as stressful as the real thing. Your heart pounds, your palms sweat, you notice that you’re breathing quickly. That’s to be expected, but here’s the important part: the more you practice .,.the less your nerves will bother you when it’s time for the real interview. So get it all out of your system now!
When you role-play with your coach you can have as many do-overs as you need (something you don’t get in real life). Flub a line, forget a detail, or say something wordy or awkward, and you can start over or collaborate on how to do it better.
After each role-play, your coach can give you feedback on what to keep doing and where you can make changes. Not only that, your coach can help you prepare for a variety of scenarios so that you feel confident no matter what comes your way.
Here are my tips as a coach on how to get the most from your role-playing experience:
- Identify your place of energy/comfort/attention. Create a mental marker of how you feel when you’re at your best, and memorize it so that when you feel like you’re losing energy during a long interview, you can perk yourself up.
- Practice, practice, practice. Own the questions you most fear by practicing them repeatedly phrased in different ways. This gives you a greater comfort level and feeling of control. Fill your answers with great stories and examples. Ask your coach to tweak your answers for greater clarity.
- Be ready for challenges. Not all interviewers are friendly. Prepare for a rough interview by having your coach try to poke holes in your stories, challenge your qualifications, ask for more specifics, or focus on your resume weak spots.
- Switch it up. Role play both parts, interviewer and interviewee, to get a sense of how certain answers sound from the other side of the desk.
- Play salesperson. Play out a scenario where you try to sell the company to your coach, utilizing all the information you’ve learned from your research. Emphasize the company’s values, unique features, competitive advantages, management strengths and new products.
- Rule of three. If a point is important and you want your interviewer to remember it and identify it with you, hit it at least three times. Make sure that every story, every example, and every feasible answer “ties it all back” to the main point you want to make.
- Keep it up. Practice for every interview. Don’t assume that just because you’ve role-played once you’re done. Every interview is different. Avoid getting complacent, and make sure you stay on your game.
- Use the props. When you role-play, bring the purse, briefcase or other items you expect to take to the interview. Set up the chairs so that you’re across the desk from your coach, or seated facing each other in chairs. Change the setting and see how that impacts your energy.
- Be excited. Put the same energy and enthusiasm into your dress rehearsal that you expect to use in your real interview.
- Knock ‘em dead! Take your new skills and your confidence into your next interview and get ready to make a big impression.
Practice pays off with confidence and a polished presentation. Do your homework, role-play with a coach, and expect that success will happen for you!