Body Language: You’ve worked exceedingly hard to get this significant interview or you are working with a new group for the first time. You’ve designed and rehearsed your lesson plan so that it’s perfect, and your CV is a dream for a headteacher to read. At critical moments like this, don’t allow sloppy body language to let you down, after all, it is the unspoken barrier between you and success.
“Your gestures, voice tone, rate, and volume can all have a profound effect on the success of your negotiations, job interviews, and Teaching meetings,” says Dr. Carol Kinsey Goman, author of The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help. “You only have seven seconds to make a first impression and establish credibility, trust, power, status, warmth, and empathy.”
Learn to send honest signals with these ten simple reminders below:
- Lean Forward
We don’t tend to lean forward but leaning towards the employer during a conversation will signal commitment in a conversation and also show that you are engaged and have their full attention.
- Open your arms
Whatever you do don’t cross your arms. You will come across as defensive within many cultures and contexts. Your arms crossed will show a defensive and closed approach to the interviewer, and they may take it that you’re not interested. Keep your arms open so that you’re fully involved. Data shows that you retain 38% less information when your legs and arms are crossed. So open those arms and your mind!
- Don’t point
Were you ever taught that it was rude to point? Well, it is! Soften your gestures. Instead of a point you could try a full-hand point or chop, so that way it comes across as passion and not negative (unless you want to portray aggression!)
- Smile (honestly!)
A normal smile is just the mouth, but when you’re genuinely smiling, you’ll also be using your eyes. A genuine smile will draw anyone in, and it will show you’re happy to be there. It will melt hearts and soothe your nerves!
- Positive eye contact
When you make good eye contact, you’ll build trust easily and as a big bonus, it’ll show you’re engaged and interested. Studies say that people are less hostile and negative when they look into your eyes. So make sure to use your eyes for contact and gain trust!
- Use fewer gestures
Let your hands rest on your sides or your lap.- This all depends on if you’re standing or sitting. Whatever you do don’t crack your knuckles and remember not to rub your hands, because to an interviewer it can indicate that you have a closed deal.
- Use a lower vocal range
Say “um hum” a few times before you answer any long questions to bring your voice range down. Speak at a slower pace and avoid the slang.
- Strike a pose
Powerful people with a high status are definitely not afraid to use the space in a room. Research shows that if you do a ‘high power pose’ — think Wonder Woman — and hold it for two minutes, your testosterone level raises and cortisol level lowers. Your confidence will shine through – try it!
- Embrace the power of touch
Are you aware that if you reach out and touch someone they are more likely to say yes and go along with your request? Touching an arm created a human bond almost immediately as long as you do it with a combination with other honest communication.
- Watch the feet
“Feet hold secrets,” says Goman, “because they are the least rehearsed.” Are you aware that feet point to the person you prefer? Whereas feet positioned close together can be seen as a timid stance but feet far apart display confidence. Use this to read somebody’s body language and at the same time stay in control of your own.
You may not be aware of your body language, and you may already be sending powerful signals to the receiver. Using smart body language, you’re more likely to reinforce your goals rather than being a distraction. The rise of technology and nonverbal communication is now of high importance due to the visual technology revolution. Try taking centre stage and boost your body language IQ!