“Outer Game” encompasses the parts of you that others can see, hear, feel etc. While Inner Game is mostly concerned with your inward sense of being, outer game is about the things you can physically (rather than spiritually/emotionally) do to make yourself a “better” person.
Obviously, the definition of “better” is hugely subjective, but we’re going to go over some of the changes you can make to your life/style that will help you at interview. A lot of you will find this stuff incredibly obvious, which is a pretty good sign that you’re already doing it. But if you see something that you know you don’t do, give it a shot and see how much difference it makes.
The Power of the Smile
Smiling is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your chances of getting into medical school. Smiling shows confidence, enthusiasm, friendliness, comfort and pretty much every other positive quality that they’re going to be looking for.
When you walk into the interview room and meet the interviewers, smile at them while introducing yourself. When they ask you how you’re feeling, smile, give a small laugh and say “I’m a little bit nervous”. When they ask why you chose medicine, smile and launch into your enthusiastic answer. You get the point.
Speaking through a smile
This is an immensely powerful technique used (consciously or otherwise) by the most charismatic people you’ll meet. Will Smith is a perfect example – if you watch any of his interviews, it’s as if he’s constantly got a smile near his lips (and eyes), at almost all times. In fact, the only time he’s not smiling is when he’s talking about something serious.
This is called “speaking through a smile” – when you’re talking while smiling at the same time. It seems really weird to read on paper (we’ll try and illustrate this in real life on the course), but it genuinely works. Speaking through a smile automatically makes you appear more confident, enthusiastic and positive, and it really doesn’t take much effort.
Try it next time you’re meeting someone new and see what a profound difference it makes to the way you’re perceived. It’s like magic.
Throughout your interview, you need to be conveying enthusiasm for your subject, and for the university that you’re applying to. If you’re naturally an enthusiastic person, this will be easy – just do what you always do. But, if you’re not, then there’s stuff you can do to help.
First and foremost, SMILE. Seriously. We’re going to keep on repeating it because it’s that important. You absolutely need to smile. If you’re the kind of person who smiling doesn’t come naturally to, then do something about it before your interview. Fake it if you have to. Just smile. Thank you.
Secondly, you can (and should) be liberal with your use of the word “really”. The word “really” just makes you sound very really enthusiastic about anything that you use it with.
Shadowing the junior doctor was really interesting – he showed me his day-to-day schedule, we chatted to some patients and I even managed to take some histories.
I really enjoyed studying Biology at A-level, especially the human biology parts.
See? When you use the word “really” instead of “very” or “extremely” or whatever, then you just sound so much more enthusiastic!! Which is exactly what we want.
Eye contact is very important as well. Again, if you’re naturally confident and good at speaking to people, you probably make eye contact pretty well anyway. But if you know you’re not (and this is where being brutally honest with yourself is useful), then it’s probably partially because you’re not making enough eye contact.
It’s reasonably straightforward to make eye contact with people when you’re listening to them, but it’s much, much harder to do the same thing when you’re actually the one speaking. It’s so tempting to look away, to look at the floor, to look anywhere but into their eyes, but you need to get over that discomfort and do it anyway.
People are often worried that “what if I make too much eye contact and they think I’m weird” – in reality, it’s pretty hard to make too much eye contact. If you feel like you’re making a bit too much, then you’re probably making the right amount.
There are different schools of thought as to how you actually make eye contact with people. Some say that you should “triangulate” your gaze between both eyes and the bridge of the nose. Others feel like you should include the lips in that triangle to make a diamond. Some people think you should focus on just one eye. Some think you should focus on the bridge of the nose only. To be honest, it really doesn’t matter – do whatever feels natural to you. As long as you’re making the eye contact it doesn’t matter how you’re making it.
Again, this is quite hard to describe through the textual medium, but we’re going to try anyway. You need to be speaking in an “open” rather than “closed” way. To get an idea of what this means (we’ll try and illustrate it on the course too), raise your eyebrows as if you’re surprised, and open your mouth really wide. Now say something but say it with your eyebrows raised and make your mouth really wide when you talk.
Wow, that does sound really weird. To be honest, it’s something that if you’re enthusiastic, will be natural to you anyway. But if you’re not then you need to be making an active effort to move your mouth more when you talk, as opposed to mumbling.
You probably know this already, but “open” body language is obviously better than “closed” body language. So please don’t fold your arms, don’t be hunched over, don’t compress yourself into the smallest space possible (a common tendency of shy people).
Instead, display your abdomen and chest (sounds weird, we know), take up space on the chair that you’re sitting in (though don’t take the mick with this) and just generally be OPEN.