Are you saying more than you mean to?

There are many things to keep in mind when you are preparing for an interview. You have to think a lot about what you will say, for instance. But it is also imperative that you consider how you will say it. Studies suggest that 70% to 80% of meaning is inferred from nonverbal communication. Whether you realize it or not, your nonverbal behavior can speak louder than your words. Read this blog to make sure you are not communicating something you do not mean to be.

  • Posture: When you slouch, it makes you look tired and uncaring. When you lean too far forward, you can come off as too eager or aggressive. The best thing to do is stand (or sit) upright. Do not over do it, though. Make sure you are comfortable, but show some energy and enthusiasm.
  • Make frequent eye contact with your interviewer in a relaxed, confident way. If you are constantly looking around the room you may come off as nervous and if you stare unflinchingly into your interviewers eyes, you could easily make them uncomfortable. Some other things to avoid: Shifting eyes, smirks and rapid blinking may make it look as if you are being dishonest or phony. Squinting accompanied with a furrowed brow conveys distress or discomfort.
  • Gesturing with your hands as you speak is natural. Some gestures even convey confidence and focus, such as touching your fingertips together like a steeple. But do not get carried away, as gestures can easily distract from what you are saying. Rubbing your hands together, cracking your knuckles or fiddling with your pen or jewelry can convey insecurity or discomfort or make you look unfocused and nervous. Not to mention, it can be very distracting for the interviewer. (These behaviors are tough to monitor. Many of us are unaware we have such habits. Watch yourself in a mirror while talking on the phone. Chances are you are using some of the same gestures when you speak to someone in person.)
  • Last, but definitely not least – Remember to smile! This may seem obvious, but it bears repeating. A genuine smile expresses warmth, interest, empathy and friendliness.