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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How To Connect With Your Judges

Preparing for the interview competition is no easy task, but you and I both know that a pageant is won in interview room. This is where you get to talk about yourself and convince the judges that YOU are the one to "hire" or choose for the job at hand. But, how can you connect with judges and make them choose you?

If you're in the Miss America system, depending on your age group, you have 8-10 minutes to connect with your judges via a panel interview. In the USA system, you have about 3 minutes in a panel interview to make a connection. In NAM/IJM/MAC, you have one-minute with each judge in a "move table to table" setup. And if you're in USA Ambassador, you have 3 minutes with each judge in the "move table to table" format.

Each system, regardless of minutes with your judges, wants someone who can connect, so how do you do that? Keep reading:

1. Connect with personality.
If you feel the need to laugh, do it. If you feel the need to use your hands, do so, but sparingly. Package your personality to reflect the right blend of authority and approachability so you get the right amount of attention from the judges. 

Know what your personality type is and know that each judge has a different personality type. For example:

  • If you are a dreamer, do not be indecisive. Pick a side and go with it, but understand why you are going in that direction.
  • If you are an analyst, are you missing out on the big picture? Are you overly critical?
  • If you are a persuader, do you over exaggerate?
  • If you are a controller, how well do you process feedback? Are you stubborn or argumentative?
2. Know the nature of your business.
  • Do your personal values and beliefs connect with the organization you want to represent? 
  • What does this pageant do and how can you contribute to its success?
  • How can you give the pageant more direction or meaning?
3. Find your style.
  • Create a link between how you look and how you can work to gain the competitive edge. When you enter the room, you are sending an unspoken message - your present style or manner says a lot about you, so make sure the message is one that benefits you.
  • Image has a very real impact on your ability to convince people, and like it or not, wardrobe plays a big part in those crucial opening seconds of your interview, when you are scrambling to make that connection. This is why BV does pageant prep AND image consulting; the image is half the package!
  • Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Let your judges picture you making presentations to other young women, not heading to the gym or the club.

You never know who will be your judge at an upcoming pageant, but you can do your best to prepare to be your personal best when you do face the judges. Understand your personality and how you can best present it to your judges. Know your pageant system and what you can bring to it. And finally, when you look and feel your best, you can present your best self.

Do not underestimate this post because it presents only three points; these are three major details to convincing your panel that you are the girl to choose. Of course, your interview skills must match up to what the judges desire in a winner (and that's a totally different blog post), but by combining these three points with your impeccable interview skills, you are bound for interview success, high scores, and making a real connection with your judges.