About five years ago I was asked to do a very important interview, on camera, with a head honcho in the UK government (ok, it was Gordon Brown. He was very nice). Anyway, it was one of the very first times I'd ever to appear on camera for anything that big and I was well aware of how some of my previous efforts had been mortifying to play back (I'll save you too vivid a description but needless to say there was manic blinking, a rabbit in the headlights expression and a general aura of untrustworthy shiftiness).
Pre interview, wriggling in my chair, I was feeling crappy and sweaty palmed. I had no problem with the interview itself or the subject I was talking to. It was just the thankless glare of the lens and the prospect of my propensity for frantic gesticulation, cynical side glares and the occasional awkward laugh being broadcast to the world under a filter of harsh HD megapixels that freaked me out. Five minutes to air, I nervously shuffled my papers as a compliant make up lady dutifully lacquered me with thick face powder. "You ok?" said the studio manager. "Yeah" I said, unconvincingly. "Can I give you a piece of advice?" he said, not waiting for an answer. "Uncross your legs. Put your feet flat on the floor. Feel yourself rooted to the ground and think from that place".
What a man. I listened to him, changed the way I was sitting and instantly felt myself feel more grounded. The interview was (mercifully) a breeze. Since then, this simple action has been a game changer for me in job interviews, important meetings and tough conversations. In any of these scenarios, as I sit in my chair, I consciously resist the urge to cross my ankles or legs, as I would normally, and instead sit straight and serene, the soles of my feet connecting with the floor beneath me. I breathe into my whole body, and imagine thinking from the earth up. The kind dude who gifted me this seemingly laughably simple but truly amazing advice was spot on. There's something about centering oneself to the ground that results in feeling stronger and more poised. Immediately you feel thoughtful and magically calm. I think it's also, body language wise, a majestic and powerful pose that communicates strength and poise. I urge you to try it.
I'm curious, do you have any tips or rituals you do before high pressure meetings or interviews?