The Importance of Body Language and Eye Contact

Body language and eye contact are of great significance in a formal situation such as an interview. Non-verbal communication sends out different signals to any person you interact with and you should, therefore, be mindful of the signals you are sending out when trying to give out the best impression of yourself.

Body language:

Body language is unconscious and therefore can go unnoticed when preparing for an important meeting, however according to The Communication Model by professor Albert Mehrabian; 55% of what you’re trying to communicate lies in your nonverbal communication. Let’s use an interview scenario; you have just arrived and you have reported to Reception, (remember your interview has started as soon as you walk in the building). When waiting for the interviewer; it’s important to maintain an assured posture and work on getting in the right mindset for the interview. Then when the interviewer arrives you will look professional and feel ready to give off the best impression of you. Even giving a firm handshake at the start shows your confidence before the interview has even started and the interviewer will be sub-consciously be observing you right from the get-go.

Posture- whether you’re sitting down or standing up, it’s important to sit up straight and not slouched. This may seem like an obvious point; however especially when sitting on a chair you can be tempted to lean on the side of the chair, particularly when you become more comfortable with the recipient. Try not to wiggle the chair side to side and keep your legs still, this way you won’t come across as nervous, even if you do feel like this. The fidgeting will not only put you off but also the other person, especially in an interview situation.

Hands and arms- When you start talking your hands and arms will usually move naturally, this is because you’re trying to convey information. However, take notice if you are using them excessively as it may become distracting for the recipient, and you don’t want the interviewer to focus on this. Even when you’re not talking, it’s easy to get in the rhythm of making repetitive movements to reveal your stress which is something you should also consider, this could be something like twiddling your thumbs or tapping the table. Remember to not cross your arms in any situation, it comes across as cold and shows a lack of interest. For ladies especially, touching your hair can be distracting which we discussed in our previous blog, this can be found here.

Eye contact-

Eye contact is one of the best ways to build a relationship because you’re subconsciously building engagement with that person. It’s easy to think about eye contact seriously, but the best eye contact is made with a smile, this takes away the intensity and becomes friendlier. Everything is told through the eyes, you can see exactly how someone feels about a situation. For example, if you have been asked a question in an interview and you’re looking down, this suggests a lack of confidence or you’re unsure on a question, which is why preparation matters. However, if you’re maintaining confident eye contact it demonstrates you’re ready to answer the questions. It can also show that you’re engaging in what the interviewer is saying which gives off a positive impression, proving you’re interested. Remember it’s not about fixedly staring at the interviewer, it’s about maintaining a natural and friendly expression and reconnecting eye contact at different points.

All the best for your interview from the team at Lighthouse Personnel Ltd!

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