Body language success: Skills to use in an interview that apply - KUSI News - San Diego, CA

Body language success: Skills to use in an interview that apply to the work place

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Stop for a minute and answer a few questions 

  • Where are your arms?
  • What is the expression on your face?
  • If someone were to walk in the room right now, what preconceptions might they make about you simply based on your body language?

A large percentage of communication and how people perceive you comes from body language. This includes posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact. Your body language reveals your true feelings.

The same can be said about stepping into that important interview. Despite having a few jitters, or not feeling you are on top of your game, it's important to be in control of the impression you make. Your body language can tell more about your ability to do the job, than your verbal answers. Using appropriate signals, you will receive positive feedback and regain your confidence.

How do you send these all important messages to your brain?

1. Smile more.

Smiling makes you more inviting and trustworthy. It also improves your health and your self-confidence. Smiling slows the heart, relaxes the body, and it releases endorphins that diminish stress. It also has been shown to increase your productivity while performing tasks. According to several studies, smiling tricks your brain into feeling happy, even when you may not feel that way.

  • When you wake up in the morning, stand in front of your mirror and smile at yourself. Yes, you will feel foolish, but practice smiling to yourself for a minute or two. Have some fun with it. Tell yourself a new joke every morning.
  • You will also become aware of the impact of you smiling has on other people and how contagious it can be. 

2. Pay attention to posture.

Posture indicates our confidence level. Sitting hunched forward, or lounging back can make you seem too casual and unfocused.  Moving around and fidgeting is a sign of boredom, impatience, and intolerance.

  • When you sit, either in a straight chair or on a couch be aware of sitting up straight. But comfortably, not as if you were commanded to sit at attention. The same holds true for standing  

Notice your posture if you are at work now. Are you slumped in your chair with your back bent, neck forward, and shoulders hunched? Practice sitting and standing with correct posture.  If a supervisor was walking by would they be impressed?

  • When you enter a room of people or a meeting, correct your posture before you walk in the room.
  • Until you get in the habit of thinking about your posture a fun exercise is to wear a rubber band on your wrist as a reminder to stand or sit up straight. 

3. Be aware your arms and legs

Even at your desk or in a meeting, crossing your arms across your chest suggests you feel defensive, self-protective, and closed off. Crossing your legs away from another person can suggest you dislike them or feel discomfort. So whether in a social situation, at work, or in that interview remember to start practicing behavior that gives a positive impression.

There other negative behaviors to be aware of.   If you are fidgeting, twirling your hair, shaking your foot, or biting your nails. It is an obvious sign of anxiety and nervousness. Avoid touching your face or neck which also indicates you feel anxious. Fidgeting sends the message loud and clear that you aren't self-assured.

  • When you feel the urge to fidget and have nervous energy, take a few deep, calming breaths.
  • And my personal pet peeve- sighing and moaning!  Both activities just suck the energy out of a room. Don’t ever be guilty of that.

4. Have a strong handshake.

A firm, solid handshake is a universal sign of confidence, and everyone, and young people should have one. It is a sign of mutual respect from both parties and makes a great first impression. A sweaty, limp, “dead fish” handshake has the opposite effect. 

  • A handshake should be strong, but not crushing, offered with a cool dry hand and a few up and down shakes, and definitely a few seconds of eye contact so that the two of you connect.  
  • If shaking hands does not come naturally to you, then start shaking hands more often as you meet new people, or see people you have not seen in a while. Shaking hands is a great way to congratulate someone as well.

5. Practice appropriate eye contact.

Eye contact suggests you're truthful, engaging, and approachable. It imparts a sense of intimacy and confidence to your interactions and makes the other person feel more positive and connected to you. However, too much eye contact can send the signal you're aggressive or maybe even a little strange if it seems you are starring.

Remember, confidence in your body language at work, in social situations or in that dreaded interview transmits confidence. These basic body language tips can help you to succeed in multiple professional, as well as personal situations.


Smile – When you wake up in the morning, stand in front of your mirror and smile at yourself.

Handshake – Make sure your palms are dry during the handshake and be firm and confident.

Posture – Sit tall and avoid crossing your arms.

Eye contact – Look in the eye-nose triangle for the majority of the time.

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