Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and author of the new book, Presence, recently offered a tip for those who consider themselves shy yet want to have a positive interview experience. The tip may seem simple, although many people find it hard to do: slow down and take pauses.
Shy people in particular, says Cuddy, rush through their answers. “They're afraid to ask questions. They certainly don't pause. They truncate their answers." She adds that many people actually fear pauses because pauses make them feel vulnerable.
Yet taking your time to answer a question, says Cuddy, shows you're taking the other person seriously." When someone asks you a question… they really want you to answer it thoughtfully…Reflect; don't jump right in.” She advised doing the same after you've given your response: "Pause after that to allow it to sink in. People need time to process.”
Cuddy contends that, in addition to giving the interaction the attention it deserves, pausing will make interviewees feel more powerful. As longtime proponents of the power of silence, we wholeheartedly agree.
We want to hear: Have you ever considered yourself shy? What strategies have you used during interviews? Even if you’re not shy, can you give an example of when pausing has helped you succeed? To join the conversation, click "comments" on our Community of Practice Forum.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion.