Job interviews and agent pitches are similar in many ways. First, the excitement of receiving the call or setting up the appointment gets your heart racing. You stay pumped and think big. You see yourself as being successful in that new job or getting word that five publishers want your story. You know you can do it.
And then they day of the interview or pitch comes along. Your stomach turns into knots, your hands shake, and your mouth becomes dry like the sand in a desert. You begin to wonder how you can back out of the interview or postpone it for another day. You’re going to be sick. Unfortunately, this happens too many times. Your nerves take over your confidence.
The best way to tame those nerves is to be prepared. Here are a few tips to help:
- Dress up. Be professional and clean. When you look sharp, you’ll feel good about yourself.
- Smile. Show them you’re personable. You don’t have to be a comedian or be too friendly. Be polite and upbeat. Let them know that you work well with others. This is especially important when pitching. They have to see that you’re outgoing enough to market your book.
- Be familiar with the organization or agency. Mention a positive fact that you’ve seen or heard about them that made you want to apply or pitch to them.
- Don’t babble. White noise in between questions is okay. Take a deep breath as you think about the question and to organize your thoughts before you respond. Remember, if you don’t know the answer, you don’t know. Say it. If you don’t understand the question then ask for more detail or for them to explain.
- Sell yourself. A previous boss gave me this tip. He said to think of four strong points about yourself that you want them to remember. In the interview, make sure to get those four points out. Even if you have to tell them in the first minute of a five-minute pitch – do it. Sell yourself.
Just remember, nerves will always be there. Use them to your advantage and charge yourself with positive energy. If you go in prepared, you will come out feeling good about the interview. The big thing to remember is that it’s a two-way street. You need to feel good about the interview as well. They have the choice to offer you the job, but ultimately it’s your choice if you want to accept.