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Why is body language important?

Why is body language important?

Many communication experts say that the non verbal aspects of a person’s behaviour are more important than what is actually said. In general, how you speak (intonation, tone, pitch) and how you behave while speaking (facial expressions, posture, appearance), are as important as what you say.

Before the meeting

You must remember that the interview process begins from the moment you enter the company building and you should consider how you present yourself during the entire process. Set a good tone by arriving a few minutes earlier for your interview. If you have to wait before your interview, occupy yourself by reading some of the companies promotional materials or a magazine from the waiting room. Consider your attitude while waiting as this is also part of the assessment process.

When your it's your turn to be interviewed, you should step into the room, say hello and offer a handshake. This is the only chance you get to make a first impression so it is very important that you pay particular attention to how you introduce yourself.

When it comes to posture, it is worth noting that even if you remain completely motionless you are still portraying a particular message. If your body position is too closed and rigid, you will most likely present yourself as stiff and unfriendly. In order to present yourself in a more relaxed and confident way, you must be able to master your nerves and be in control.

This can be quite difficult to achieve but it is worth trying to recall situations in which you felt particularly confident, perhaps in stressful circumstances. You should sit with your back straight, arms and legs in a natural, relaxed position and your breathing should be calm and steady. Ideally, you should be able to give the impression of someone who is natural and calm but of course without being overly relaxed or lethargic.

It is also very important to indicate that you are interested in what the interviewer is saying. However, it is important not to overdo it and seem forced or unnatural. Bending forward slightly in the direction of the interviewer is a natural signal of interest, this is something that is often forgotten because of stress.

The final thing to consider is your facial expression. While it may be relatively easy to control your arms and legs, facial expressions take a little more skill and practice to master. Our face can often unknowingly betray us when in a stressful situation, therefore, it can be worthwhile practising in front of a mirror or on camera in order to avoid conveying negative expressions like dislike or reluctance.

What to do with your hands?

During an interview situation, many people have a problem with what to do with their hands. It presents something of a dilemma, should you keep your hands still in one place or gesticulate when talking to be seen as more dynamic. Whether you choose to be subtle or more expressive with your hand gestures, it is of the utmost importance that you do not close yourself off by crossing your arms. This can present the impression of someone who is either uninterested, threatened or simply bored. One more thing that should be avoided is playing with a pen, recruiters tend to notice this and interpret it as excessive nervousness, uncertainty and lack of ability to deal with stress.

What to do with your legs?

Whether you decide to keep your legs crossed, or with your feet flat on the floor, it is important to stick to one position. Continuously changing your stance will portray you as anxious, indecisive and uncertain.

Do not touch your nose and mouth

Touching your face is one of the most characteristic signals that someone has just told a lie. It is not the words that will betray you but rather your gestures, facial expressions and posture that will reveal your dishonesty. Regardless of whether you can control your body language or not, it is of course not advisable to lie during an interview as it can often discredit you as a credible candidate.

Eye Contact

One of the most important aspects of a good interview technique is maintaining the right level of eye contact with the interviewer. Jittery and awkward eye contact can give the impression that you’re trying to hide something, whereas, consistent natural eye contact conveys openness and honesty.

Way of speaking

Remember, how you say something is often more important than what you say. You should concentrate particularly on the tone of your voice, the volume, rhythm and pitch are also especially important. These are factors you should consider and that can influence the credibility of what you are saying. The more naturally you can present yourself the better. Of course, stress can have a huge effect on how we speak and breathe so it is important to practice controlled speaking.

Interviewer body language 

During an interview, it is especially important to pay attention to the body language of the interviewer. If you notice the interviewer nodding their head, you can take this as a positive sign that they are interested in what you are saying. However, if the employer has their arms or legs crossed, is rubbing their face or yawning discreetly then this can be taken as a sign that the interview is not going so well. You should observe all signals sent by the interviewer as it will allow you to give a better account of yourself and help you to adapt your strategy during the interview.

Non-verbal communication is an extremely important element when presenting yourself as a potential employeeOf course, it is much more difficult to control all the various elements of our body language when you are under pressure, therefore these techniques should be practised as much as possible prior to your interview. Our body language and speaking skills play a huge part in the image we present and the importance of such factors should not be underestimated.