Savvy Shields, Miss America 2017 shows her charm during an interview. Photo courtesy of Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Simply put, pageants are charm competitions.
Think about it. In most cases, you are contending with other women who are likewise intelligent, attractive, talented and desirous of the title. What will set you apart? What will convince the judges that you are their favorite?
Charm will. Charm is defined as, "the power or quality of giving delight or arousing admiration."
Charm cannot be faked…at least not for long. True charm flows naturally from an honest and kind place within your soul.
Think of your favorite people. Most likely they exude charm. You can’t help but respect their confidence and the way they make you feel important. No doubt, you would love the judges to feel this way about you! The great news is that charm is a quality that can be cultivated and grown through practice.
The Basics of Charm
What does it look like when someone has the quality of charm? Here are a few examples.
Have regal posture.
Make steady eye contact.
Listen attentively and do not interrupt.
Apologize if you accidentally interrupt.
Use “Please” and “Thank you”.
Use “Yes” instead of “Yeah”.
Have a joyful, ready laugh.
Offer a welcoming heart to a great conversation.
And perhaps most importantly, be comfortable in your own skin.
In your interview (and in life), just be who you really are. You might be delightfully surprised to learn that your true self is enough and very attractive. Try just being yourself – very few people are doing this. If you love you, others will too.
5 Ways to Show Your Charm in Interview
1. Express gratitude
Take a mental pause before your interview to feel gratitude for each judge. They have given up their weekend to judge this pageant. Think of the judges as real people with lives on hold and look for a verbal opportunity to show them appreciation. Maybe say, “Thank you. This is a special experience in my life and I appreciate the time and effort you are giving to judge this pageant.”
If the judge took the time to research and prepare questions based on your paperwork and or platform tell them, “Thank you for the time you put into asking such thoughtful questions.” Or, “What a question!”
Smile genuinely. Flash your teeth…a lot. Happiness looks gorgeous on you! If there is a lull between questions, think to yourself, “This is such a special moment and I am thankful for you,” and then communicate that joy through a big, bright, warm smile.
3. Eye contact
Steady eye contact exudes self-confidence. However, if it feels awkward to look directly in the judge’s eyes, try looking at the bridge of their nose and they will never know the difference!
4. Commit the judges’ names to memory
Everyone loves the sound of his or her own name. Do you have the judges’ bios prior to your personal interview? Can you imagine how shocked and charmed he or she would be if you said, “Thank you for that question, Dr. .” Or, tell the former titleholder judge, “It is an honor to meet you. I admire that you accomplished during your reign.” Do this sparingly and only if it is genuine.
Laughter sparkles. Try to make the judge(s) laugh out loud at least once and let them hear your audible, joyful laugh.
Tip: Create an amusing moment. It’s easy! Say something unexpected or laugh at yourself. Show them that you don’t take yourself too seriously.
Believe me, you can do this! It works like a charm.