What You Didn’t Say

Sometimes, it’s what you don’t say that speaks most clearly. Body language and non-verbal communication can tell those around you volumes about how you are feeling and what makes you uncomfortable or nervous. This blog explores how you can make sure to send the right message, whether on an interview, receiving an employee review, on a sales call, or any other time you are hoping to make the best of impressions.

Your Entrance
You’ll have points subtracted instantaneously if you’re seen making some of these blunders:
* Often times the receptionist or other gatekeeper has been recruited to make initial observations. Be polite, courteous and make sure to know the name of the individual you are about to meet with without having to reference your notes.
* Don’t chew gum – even if your intent is to spit it out before you enter the appointment.
* Don’t be seen smoking – stopping for a last minute smoke (even in a designated area) is not okay.
* Don’t speak on your cell phone or type on your blackberry while you wait – this appointment should be perceived as the most important thing on your calendar.
* Carry a portfolio or other professional looking notebook so that you can take notes if required. If on an interview, always bring a clean copy of your resume, even if you have already sent one.
* Always have a pen available (make sure it works!).
* Handshake: firm and solid without being overbearing. Look them in the eye while you shake. Smile and be excited for this opportunity.
* Do not ever cross your arms! This allows the interviewer to believe you are closed off and uninterested.

During the Meeting
* Keep tabs on your posture – sit up, and lean slightly forward to signal interest. Don’t slouch.
* Keep your feet on the floor – don’t cross your legs and don’t ever put your feet up.
* Be alert – keep focused on the interviewer without staring. Make eye contact for several seconds at a time and then glance away momentarily.
* Smile when appropriate. Watch the interviewer to gain clues into their personality – if they are serious, you should be as well. If the interviewer is lighthearted and laughs or makes lighthearted comments, do the same, but make sure to be subtle with all your emotions.
* Be sure to nod “yes” where appropriate.
* Don’t overdo with your tone of voice – make sure your volume matches that of the interviewer – not too loud or too quiet.
* Listen and don’t ever interrupt – let the interviewer ask a complete question before beginning to answer.
* Stay calm – no matter what is asked.
* Keep your arms occupied by holding a pen or resting your arms on the chair or on your lap. Don’t use your hands or arms too much as you communicate.

Important Points to Remember
* Confidence is Key: eye contact is a great way to communicate that you are confident. If you look away for long periods while speaking, it can indicate that you are lying. If you need to explain something difficult about your resume (a period of unemployment, a termination), look directly at the interviewer, speak in an even tone and be direct and to the point. Practice your explanations with a friend and make sure you are able to respond without hesitation.
* Don’t be dramatic or gossipy: even if you didn’t have a positive past experience or there were issues with fellow employees – the person interviewing you is not your friend, they are a professional who you are trying to impress. Keep to the facts, not your opinions.
* Watch your facial expressions…literally. Tape yourself or answer questions to yourself in front of a mirror. You’ll be amazed at what you give away. Modify your expressions to eliminate negative characteristics and remember to smile.
* Be proud: Walk tall. Shake firmly. Stand your ground. Speak clearly. Be proud of you are.

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