Then from high school on we are hammered with the image concept that all the world's a stage and we are players on it.
In his classic "Presentation of Self in Everyday Life," sociologist Erving Goffman explained how even the uneducated in a rural village know to create unique performance art for each social context.
Yet, in the pressure-cooker experience of interviews for jobs, contract assignments and new business for our enterprises, we too often forget all that.
Instead of creating the kind of performance art the audience - that is, the interviewer - wants, we present a laundry list of credentials. We're focused on ourselves, not the audience. We miss cues such as when to speak more passionately or lower the intensity. No wonder most interviews fail to get the job, the assignment, the business.
How can prepare for Show Time? Here are some recommendations:
Research the organizational culture. Then "dress for the part." That includes how to comport yourself in facial expressions, body language, word choice, decibel level, pacing, props such as background material to bring in and level of familiarity in the actual interaction.
Take quick read of audience mood. Then mirror. A buttoned-down organization might have just been awarded a major contract. The interviewer is expansive. Lean into that without being overly familiar.
Follow cues. Great actors never give the same performance. They gear each one to the vibrations transmitted by that particular audience.
Be grateful for applause. Thank the interviewer for all positive input. Follow that up with a digital note.
Suppose the performance did not go well? You sensed that. The confirmation was that you didn't get hired. Reverse-engineer every aspect of your performance. What seemed to be okay? What, in retrospect, do you assume was a mistake? What could you have done which you didn't?
The next step is to try to get as many interviews as you can in order to practice practice practice.