The way your body speaks can either make you or break you. Body language plays a key role in the way you communicate. Our expressions, the way our body moves, our clothes, jewellery all add to the conversation.
According to research at Harvard and Columbia Business Schools making “high-power” poses ‘for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone—the hormone linked to power and dominance—and lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.‘
In a more official setting like at a job interview, these little ticks can mean a world of difference. According to one study, people are more likely to remember you if you simply shake hands with them. An ‘open’ stance can mean you’re interested and not resisting new information. Leaning forward, smiling (not creepily), nodding occasionally make you more affable. The truth of the matter lies at the feet though. People show tension by either curling their toes or uncurling them, constantly moving their feet or how they ‘kick out.’
Some researchers feel that in order to truly read the person’s body language, the whole body needs to be in view. Remember the head-to-toe assessment, and the next time you’re headed in for a job interview, keep the following points in mind and chances are you might just land your dream job.
1. Keep your shoulders out and your head held high
Since this is a new setting and you don’t know who is watching you, be careful how you make your entry. Slouching gives a very ‘defeated’ look and that’s not the idea you want to leave your interviewer with. Make eye contact, smile a pleasant smile and introduce yourself in an even tone.
2. Make sure your hands are not clammy when you do the power handshake
We all know about the power handshake and how it can make you stand out in a crowd. But it’s the stuff that goes into the handshake that matters. If your hands are clammy, run them in cold water and dry well. Once that’s done and you’re going in for your definition handshake, make sure there is first palm to palm contact. At the same time, make sure the handshake isn’t too hard either – you don’t want to break the hand that is supposed to sign off your contract.
3. Don’t slouch. Just don’t do it
Remember the way you walked in? Shoulders back and head held high. Make sure the way you sit complements your entry. Sit straight and don’t slouch. Better yet, line your back along with the spine of the chair, that’ll help you keep up appearances. Keep your resume handy and on the table so you simply reach it and hand it over. It also cuts down on the amount of time your prospective employer waits while you figure out the shit in your bag. And people who have always been ‘too organised’ never face any such issues.
4. Maintain eye contact
But avoid looking like the creepy guy with social adjustment issues. The way you sit also helps you make better eye contact with your interviewer. Both your fields of vision line up and keeping that going becomes easy. Make sure it’s easy and more natural otherwise your gaze could come across as too aggressive.
5. Don’t fidget
Don’t tap your fingers on the table, you’re not impatient. Don’t adjust your clothes too much. Stop your hand from wandering to your hair constantly. You’re looking fine. These nervous ticks can do you more damage than good. Imagine yourself to be the most well rested person, channel your inner monk, there’s no other than here that you’d rather be and you have all the time in the world.
6. It’s okay to smile
… not like an idiot though. Smile when the conversation allows it. If it does and your smile is natural, you’re doing good. But don’t smile too much, you might come across as someone who is eager to please. You want to be taken seriously and overdoing the smiling can kill that perception.
7. Leave your legs uncrossed
It’s important to not cross your legs. If you sit with your legs crossed, they eventually go to sleep and so you have to move to the other leg. This could make it seem like you’re fidgeting or are impatient. Plant your legs on the floor and take it from there.
8. Hand gestures are okay too
As Indians, we’re often battling the shaking-your-head-talking-too-much-with-hands stereotype. But you’d be amazed how natural it is to use your hands to lay more emphasis on your words. We’re visual beings and the movement of hands can draw more attention to the parts of your speech that need it. Doesn’t mean you walk in flapping your hand like a hen about to take flight, but if done in moderation, hand movements can cement your words in positivity.
9. Nod your approval
It’s quite clear that a head nod means agreement, even approval. Women do it for encouragement. It shows you’re keen, interested and most importantly, listening. One trick you can pull off if you’re subtle enough is, nodding when you’re talking about your positives.
10. Remember to intonate
This is not the voice-over to a tragic war movie. This is your interview, and this could be your life for next few years. Besides, speaking in monotone is plain boring and can confuse the person in front of you. No need to be overly cautious, it’s okay to give a little emotion away. Like that favourite project you worked overtime on. The fall and rise of your voice lets the person interviewing you know about your likes, dislikes and the areas where you faced challenges. Again, don’t overdo it. Let it be natural. It’s neither Doomsday nor the Pied Piper’s wedding.
11. Handshake, round II
You want to seal all the good stuff in with another firm handshake. Like the conclusion to a beautiful opera. You laid the groundwork, you created the rhythm, now it’s your job to reel in it. Walk around the desk and stand in front of your possible future employer to shake their hand. Shaking hands over the table is frowned upon. That said, don’t be very eager to shake their hand. Let is slide if they’re seeing you off and leading you out the door. Most importantly, remember to go with the flow because sometimes the setting dictates the actions