Nonverbal Communications: Escape the Pitfalls
It begins even before you say your first word in an interview. As the
interviewer walks toward you to shake hands, an opinion is already being formed.
And as you sit waiting to spew out your answers to questions you've prepared
for, you are already being judged by your appearance, posture, smile or your
Look back at speakers or teachers you've listened to.
Which ones stand out as memorable? The ones who were more animated and
entertaining, or the ones who just gave out information? This is not to say you
have to entertain the interviewer -- no jokes required -- but it does mean the
conversation should be animated and interactive. If you say you are excited
about the prospect of working for this company but don't show any enthusiasm,
your message will probably fall flat. So smile, gesture once in a while, show
some energy and breathe life into the interview experience.
underestimate the value of a smile. In addition to the enthusiasm it expresses
to the interviewer, smiling often makes you feel better about yourself.
- The Handshake: It's your first encounter with the interviewer. She holds out
her hand and receives a limp, damp hand in return -- not a very good beginning.
Your handshake should be firm -- not bone-crushing -- and your hand should be
dry and warm. Try running cold water on your hands when you first arrive at the
interview site. Run warm water if your hands tend to be cold. The insides of
your wrists are especially sensitive to temperature control.
- Your Posture: Stand and sit erect. We're not talking ramrod posture, but
show some energy and enthusiasm. A slouching posture looks tired and uncaring.
Check yourself out in a mirror or on videotape.
- Eye Contact: Look the interviewer in the eye. You don't want to stare at her
like you're trying to look into her soul, but be sure to make sure your eyes
meet frequently. Avoid constantly looking around the room while you are talking,
because that can convey nervousness or a lack of confidence with what is being
- Don't Fidget: There is nothing worse than people playing with their hair,
clicking pen tops, tapping feet or unconsciously touching parts of the body.
Preparing what you have to say is important, but practicing how you
will say it is imperative. The nonverbal message can speak louder than the
verbal message you're sending.