Your body talks, even when you want to stay silent. It tells the world what you really think. If you’re scared during a job interview, your palms may sweat, your arms might cross over your body defensively, and you’re likely to breathe high in your chest. Your nerves are a dead giveaway unless you control your non-verbal communication. Here’s how to swap the language of anxiety for the language of success.
Make a good first impression
You make an impact the second you enter the interview room, so walk tall, keep your head high, and smile when you gain eye contact with the interviewer. Shake hands too. According to psychotherapist Sally Hall, any handshake–swift, slow, strong, or floppy–is seen in a good light and considered better than no handshake at all.
Sit with calm confidence
Sit with your feet on the ground, your back straight, and an open chest to convey calm confidence. Doing so will mean you don’t slouch or lean too far back in the seat, signals of arrogance or anxiety.
Prime your mind
Carol Kinsey Goman, author of “The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help–or Hurt–How You Lead” suggests you engage in power priming. Think of a time you achieved success, remembering how you moved your body and felt, and apply similar emotions and body language during a job interview. As a result, you’ll look and feel as confident as when you were successful in the past.
Employ a power pose
Research shows striking a power pose raises confidence. Pop in the bathroom before interviews and stand like Wonder Woman–hands on hips, feet apart–and your anxiety will lift. Alternatively, hold your arms above your head and punch the air as though you’ve won a race to elicit comparable results.
Use your hands
Goman also advocates gesturing with your hands as you speak to light up Broca’s area in your brain. Moving your hands will work because “gesture is integrally linked to speech.” Broca’s area is often referred to as the scriptwriter of the mind. It aids coherent thought-to-speech, ensuring you don’t make errors when you talk.
Reduce signs of nervousness
Hair-twirling, face-touching, and fidgeting signal you’re anxious. Likewise, clock-watching shows you can’t wait to leave the interview and playing with your clothes or jewelry highlights nervous tension.
Diminish signs of anxiety by holding your hands in a steeple pose–which signals thoughtfulness–or, when you aren’t using them to gesture, hold your hands lightly on your thighs.
Job interviews can be unnerving. If you aren’t careful, your non-verbal communication might reveal a lack of confidence. Use the positive body language tactics mentioned, though, and you’ll make a terrific impression.
References: Fastcompany.com, Forbes.com, and Hopkinsmedicine.org.
About Edward Granlund:
Edward Granlund is currently gaining a degree in Cyber Security from Carroll Community College. Focused on technology, he’s learning everything from identifying physical errors in PC units to configuring IP routes. In his spare time, Granlund supports several charitable organizations including a Random Acts of Kindness Club, Trees for Troops, and, most recently, Habitat for Humanity.