Woman Shrugging Shoulders - 5 Worst Pageant Body Language Don'ts

5 Worst Pageant Body Language Don’ts

You practiced your pageant interview until you were blue in the face. You kept up on current events, memorized everything on your contestant bio, and nail your answers every time. But in the interview room, you just don’t connect with the judges. They ask you questions that you’re totally ready for, but they don’t seem impressed with your answers. You leave the interview room puzzled and confused.

If that’s happened to you, you may need to take a look at your body language. Studies show that up to 80% of how people feel about you is based on body language. You can have fabulous answers that you deliver with poise, but if your body language says ‘awkward ‘ you’re not going to get the scores you’re looking for. So, next time your scores don’t seem to match your answers, take a look to see if you’re making one of the 5 Worst Pageant Interview Body Language Don’ts.

1. Washing Machine

Washing Machine happens when you’re doing a standing interview, and you twist back and forth at the waist which moves your shoulders back and forth – like an old washing machine agitator. I can always tell when a contestant isn’t sure of an answer because she goes right into washing machine without realizing it.

To fix washing machine, think of your body as a tree. Your body is the trunk, and your arms and head are the branches. Your arms and heads can move during an answer, but your trunk should remain perfectly still. Trees don’t twist and neither should you.

2. Rocking Chair

Rocking chair (don’t you love my made-up terms?) is a self-soothing behavior that signals that you’re worried you’re going to make a mistake. You rock forward and backward ever so slightly, or maybe rock side to side. The judges are concerned they’ll get seasick if you don’t stop rocking soon.

For rocking chair, you’re going to pretend you’re a tree again. But instead of focusing on not twisting your trunk, you’re going to focus on your roots. Keep your feet firmly on the floor and think of putting down roots all the way into the earth. If you’re firmly rooted to the floor, you’re not going to rock back and forth. Sounds hokey, but it works.

3. Elevator Eyebrows

This happens when you’re doing a great job controlling your body, but your nervous energy still wants to work it’s way out. You start raising your eyebrows up and down to emphasize how passionate you are, and you can’t even feel that you’re doing it.

It’s perfectly okay to raise your eyebrows now and then to emphasize a point or react to a question. But they shouldn’t be going up and down like a busy elevator. Stand in front of a mirror and train yourself to keep those eyebrows in place when they’re tempted to jump up and down. Just keep your elevators on one floor, and you’ll be fine.

4. Too Many Hands

This happens when you’re naturally outgoing and really want to impress the judges. Your move your hands non-stop and it looks a little desperate. It’s so visually distracting the judges are no longer listening to what you’re saying.

You should move your hands in a standing interview, but not to the extreme. Limit yourself to the two to three hand gestures per answer, and you’ll come across as poised, not desperate.

5. Awkward Stance

This is extremely common when you’re doing a standing panel interview without a podium. This happens when you walk in, and you aren’t certain how you should stand. You haven’t practiced your stance, so you stand there – not quite sure of yourself – and it shows. Make sure you practice standing at home, so you don’t look awkward during your interview. Awkward isn’t a good look for your interview.

Most of these solutions probably sound silly or stupid. That’s true. But that makes them easier to remember, doesn’t it? Give them a try. After years of coaching, I can tell you these solutions work every time. Every. Time.

Oh, I almost forgot. Remember to practice your winner’s pose – I think you’ll need that too.