Communications - Escape the Pitfalls
It begins even before you say your first word in an
interview. By the time the interviewer walks toward you, an opinion is already
being formed. There you sit waiting to spew out your answers to questions you've
prepared for, while you are already being judged by your appearance, posture,
smile or nervous look.
A study done at UCLA a revealed that the impact of a
performance was based 7 percent on the words used, 38 percent on voice quality
and 55 percent on nonverbal communication.
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, please), but it does mean the conversation
should be more 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 make
the experience more pleasurable for both sides.
Nonverbal Pitfalls to Watch For:
- The Handshake: It's your first
encounter with the interviewer. The person holds out his 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, as this shows aggression.
Occasionally, and nonchalantly, glance at the interviewer's hand as he is
speaking. By constantly looking around the room while you are talking, you
convey a lack of confidence or discomfort with what is being discussed.
- Your Hands: Gesturing or
talking with your hands is very natural. Getting carried away with hand
gestures can be distracting. Also, avoid touching your mouth while talking.
Watch yourself in a mirror while talking on the phone. Chances are you are
probably using some of the same gestures in an interview.
- 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.