Body language is just that: a language. Non-verbal in nature, 100 percent visible and whether we like it or not, our body language conveys strength, confidence, comfort, shame, weakness, strain, and so much more.
In “normal” life, our body language deeply affects how people respond to us and can mean the difference between making the team, getting the job, or getting asked out on a date. But in auditions, where creative teams are so in tune with physicality, it seriously governs how auditors feel about us and absolutely contributes to their casting decisions. How we move in and out of that room determines if we get the job. So let’s talk about it.
I’ve witnessed many performers who thrive in their comfort zone of auditioning: the sweet spot of that favorite monologue, go-to song, or choreographed performance. But what about the intro and outro? Let’s address what happens between the door, the piano, the “X,” and the slate. Let’s plan your graceful exit. The hellos and goodbyes between you and the creatives are crucial moments and giant opportunities to make your impression. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could eliminate those stop-start awkward introductions, half-handshakes, and races to the exit? Wouldn’t it be fabulous if you could nail your audition from literal start to finish?
Here are three minor body language tweaks you can put into play today that will have a positive outcome in the audition room:
1. Shoulders back!
Posture is everything, and when you only have three minutes to strut your stuff, nervousness could lure you into a physically submissive stance like hunching, drawing shoulders forward and eyes down, etc. Broadening your shoulders expands the chest and lungs (Hello! Let’s breathe a little easier, please!) and takes up more physical space, which gives the impression of power and confidence. It also prompts a lift in the chin.
Side note: Anatomically our humerus (the long arm bone coming from your shoulder) and clavicle (collar bone) are supposed to be on the same plane, but all of that texting and emailing has given us crappy posture. So stand tall, friends.
READ: How to Audition
2. Take your time, then plant your feet.
This is a two-part tweak. First, when entering the room, take long, confident strides in the direction you want to go. You’re not a rabbit—don’t scurry. Confident people take up space and never rush (remember this for when you’re exiting the room too). Second, when you get to your designated audition spot, stand still and plant your feet firmly on the ground, hip distance apart.
Why? Shifting your feet and fidgeting shows indecision. Standing with your weight on one leg indicates you’re ready to move at any instant, and although I have totally wanted to flee the audition so many times myself as a performer, you must never let ‘em see you sweat.
3. Work the handshake.
I know this opportunity doesn’t present itself every time, but when you are given the chance to shake hands, don’t screw it up! A good handshake is a universal sign of confidence, people! Ladies, this applies to you as well; we are NOT the weaker sex, so no dainty BS.
No one likes to shake hands with a wet noodle. Offer a cool, dry, firm (but not crushing) handshake, and take advantage of the opportunity to offer a warm smile and make a few seconds of eye contact. Plus, human contact gives us endorphins and connects us, which just feels good.
The cool thing about these non-verbal tactics is that along with changing how people innately feel about you, body language can work the other way, too. Changing how you stand and move can change how you feel about yourself. So practice standing tall, smiling in the mirror, and walking deliberately with your head up. You are so worth it and THAT is what you need them to know. So pick your head up, baby. It’s showtime.
*This post was originally published on April 25, 2017. It has since been updated.
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