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In praise of - fidgeting.

HANDS: ruddy nuisance, aren't they?

They never sit still. You've always got to do something with them.

Received wisdom suggest the ideal state is one of Buddha-like calm. And that involves a lot of not moving. However, the new wisdom is that fidgeting might actually help in tense situations such as job interviews. But only if you're a man.

Researchers from the University of Roehampton, in London, put a group of men and women through mock job interviews. Each volunteer gave a five-minute presentation and did a mental arithmetic test.

And they found — would you Adam and Eve it? — that the men fidgeted twice as much as the women. You'd think this a bad thing. Surely the interviewers would prefer someone "cool", particularly as that's the commanding virtue of the modern age?

But it's all about results, laddie, and, as it turned out, the restless men made far fewer mistakes in the test and, somehow, also came out less stressed by the experience.

According to Dr Stuart Semple, the study's co-author, fidgeting may provide a temporary release of tension for chaps, while women may feel more self-conscious about it. Trying to suppress fidgeting only creates more tension, which is generally bad for performance.

Of course, there's fidgeting and fidgeting. I wouldn't recommend picking wax from your ears if you want that job in the restaurant kitchen. And you oughtn't to bung yourself around too wildly. Nobody wants a bucking bronco sitting next to them in the office.

But a hair flick, lip bite or tapping foot is acceptable. Not only that, but it may be good for the waistline. Tapping your feet while sitting at your desk or nuclear console can burn up to 350 calories a day (it says here). So, fidget away that fat, folks.

Contextual targeting label: 
Careers and Jobs

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