According to Albert Mehrabian (Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCLA), the three elements account differently for our liking for the person who puts forward a message concerning their feelings: words account for 7%, tone of voice accounts for 38%, and body language accounts for 55% of the liking. They are often abbreviated as the “3 Vs” for Verbal, Vocal & Visual.
Are you making the mistake of focusing only on the technical expertise at your next interview? Your wardrobe is presentation ready and the interview questions well prepared and rehearsed perhaps. You know your subject and are sure to come across as an impressive presenter at a meeting. Are you fully prepared?
ALERT: During an interview you are being judged intensively on your body language; here are some dos and don’ts that will help you make a positive effective statement during your next interview or meeting
This is your first impression or one of the first few – don’t start on the wrong foot by squeezing the interviewer’s hand too hard or appearing limp. Sweaty or too cold hands are also not welcome!
What you should do: get some constructive feedback on your present handshake style from friends or family, what do they feel? Confident handshakes at times come with practice, soon it becomes a habit. Gentler with females and firmer with men, not lingering but quick and warm. A slight bow with a handshake is often the sign of respect and expected in certain cultures.
“Kind words, kind looks, kind acts and warm handshakes, these are means of grace when men in trouble are fighting their unseen battles” ~ John Hall
Don’t slump, don’t extend your leg forward and don’t put your hands at the back of your head. Sit up straight, lean a bit forward to show interest and keep your feet together. Your posture must exhibit confidence and control. An alert and respectful demeanor shows that you are enthusiastic to present and eager to listen.
“A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.” ~ Morihei Ueshiba
Artificial – authentic, bored – interested, tight – relaxed, frown – smile. I’m sure, if asked which of the two comparisons you like here, you’ll choose the positive second. Genuineness shines through; don’t try to be someone you are not. Have a keen and interested look, that talks – “Yes, I want to know what you have to say”. Appear interested; a relaxed and smiling face always does the job in breaking the ice. Almost everyone warms us to a smiling and pleasant face as opposed to a beautiful but strict or expressionless one.
Smile, when appropriate.
“You know in his tone of voice, his facial expressions. When he has a meeting, he doesn’t have to scream and yell, he can just give you that face and that tone he has, and you know we had better pick it up and get going again.” ~ Tino Martinez
Don’t look at the watch or the clock, don’t shift your eyes constantly, don’t stare, don’t ‘look through’ and don’t give any creepy look that makes any female interviewer uncomfortable – a sure enough boot if you get this wrong!
Here’s what you should do: Look earnestly at the person who is asking you the question, when in a group focus on one person at a time when listening to the question, during the answer shift your glance to the others in the group giving them at least 2 seconds worth of a glance but focus more time on the interviewer who initially asked you the question.
Make eye contact. Eye contact emphasizes sincerity and without sincerity your point will not be received. All animals, including humans, use eye contact to read intentions and many have said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. A strong gaze also captivates the audience. You demand attention by giving it. ~ Heather Lyman
Don’t fidget around, move your hands or legs nervously, twiddle with a pen or any other object or use large quick gestures. These are distracting and annoying.
What you should do: Use your hands naturally; use small gestures when making a point- if you must. Keep hands relaxed on the table, at the arm rests of your chair or on your lap.
There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it. ~ Dale Carnegie