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How to use body language effectively at interviews
In a previous blog post, I explained the techniques and skills that would help you stand out against your competitors at the interview stage of the job acquisition process. In this post, I am going to concentrate closely on one of those techniques – using your body language to create a lasting first impression.
Many different types of interviews may require these skills; not just a job interview. For instance, a study opportunity, a Ph.D. application, or even a media interview. Whatever the circumstance, there are various non-verbal communication methods that you can use to represent yourself in the most positive light.
Firstly, make the most of the first 30 seconds
Nailing your first impression comprises three key ingredients – standing up straight, a warm smile and maintaining eye contact. A firm handshake accompanies this also in most business cultures.
Engaging in a short chat with the interviewer upon arrival is also a good way to build a little rapport and to ease the tension. You will then feel more relaxed to talk about serious things, such as why they should hire you over someone else!
Secondly, techniques that allow you to exude confidence
Being hugely outgoing is not everybody’s thing. And that’s fine. But if you are naturally reserved or even shy then you will have to make a little extra effort to appear confident. Understandably, if you lack confidence in yourself, then it is harder for the interviewer to be confident in what you say. The best way to create a confident vibe is to let your body speak for itself.
Therefore keeping the right posture throughout the interview is key. Why not try leaning your back straight against the chair? Sometimes actually leaning in when you are talking about your skills or experience can make you appear a confident and competent candidate.
A positive hand position at waist height in front of you or resting on the table can help, but avoid being overly stiff and formal.
Also avoid the obvious signs of nerves, such as fidgeting or looking away.
Thirdly, express your words with gestures
Hiding your hands when you feel anxious is very common, but this straight away suggests a lack of confidence. Use your hands for subtle (yes, subtle) gestures to illustrate what you say and stand out from others when you are speaking. Also, by placing your palms up you will appear energetic and open.
Finally, leave on a positive note
Don’t ruin your good first impression by leaving the interview in a rush. Plan your time effectively so that you can arrive relaxed and have time after the interview, rather than rushing to catch a train or to get into your car. Standing up calmly, packing your belongings, smiling and nodding would be the best departing scenario. Followed by a handshake with the interviewer(s) either initiated by you or them.
For more information on the use of effective body language and specialist coaching, visit us here.
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