Many interviews fail because of lack of proper communication. But communication is more then just what you say. Often it is the nonverbal communication that we are least aware of, yet it speaks the loudest. Your body language, facial expression, and eye contact make up the majority of the communication process. It’s not just what you say but how you say it.
The following are important, non-verbal cues to pay attention to when you’re wanting to make a positive impression.
- Eye Contact-If you look away while listening, it shows a lack of interest and a short attention span. If you fail to maintain eye contact while speaking, at a minimum it shows a lack of confidence in what you are saying and at worst may send a subtle message that you are lying.
- Facial Expressions-Your attitude is often judged by your expression. Be careful you’re not conveying a sullen, confused, or mildly hysterical expression on your face. A furrowed brow, wrinkled forehead, and a pursed, tight-lipped expression will evoke a negative impression. One simple way to eliminate all of the above expressions is to put a smile on your face! Not an insincere or forced smile, but rather a pleasant, genuine grin that says you are approachable and warm. You should not keep the smile permanently plastered on your face for the full interview, but remember to keep coming back to it. Look alert.
- Posture-Posture sends out a signal of your confidence and power potential. Stand tall, walk tall, and sit tall. Height is not what’s important, posture is.
- Space-Recognize the boundaries of your personal space and that of others. If you have a smaller then average personal space, make sure you keep your distance so that you do not intimidate someone who possesses a larger personal space. Usually, an arm’s span (around 30-36 inches) is a typical range that most people find to be a comfortable distance.
- Gestures-Be careful of nervous gestures such as head nodding, touching mouth when speaking, scratching head, crossing arms, and talking with your hands. When you do use gestures, make sure they are natural and meaningful.
This list is given not so you can artificially adopt the positive body language techniques, but more to help you recognize and avoid the negatives. If you have a habit of doing any of the above negatives, remove that action from your pattern of behavior before it sends the wrong signal. Concentrate on removing it now so you will not have to think about it during the interview.
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