Guest Post by Shadow Nightwing, non-verbal communications expert and author of Smartpeoplegethired.com:
In an interview, it's what you DON'T say that will get you the job, NOT what you say. How can that be? Read on.
Non-verbal communication. We all do it. Animals do it. Guys in bars do it. Research suggests 93% of our communication is non-verbal. If that is so, then it's what you don't say in the interview that will get you the job or get you the door.
In this article we're going to talk about a technique in non-verbal communication called 'mirroring'. Basically, it's you being a mirror of the other person's body language. Not to the point of you mocking them, but where you capture their interest through how you appear to them as you two talk.
Here's a simple example. You're in an interview. The person doing the interview from all appearances it up tight as they say. They cross their arms and legs while you talk. They are faced at an angle away from you. They don't look you in the eyes but are only pretending to make notes and so forth. How do you unwind someone so tight?
I would start by crossing my legs and folding my arms. When the other person made some motion to uncross or just shift in their chair, I'd slowly... right after they were done, make a natural move to uncross my arms and perhaps lean a bit forward in my chair towards them while answering their question.
When ever the other person makes some movement, that's your cue to unwind yourself and see if the other person is unconsciously following you. If it's not working right away, cross your arms slightly as you lean on the table or fold your hands together. Then look for another opening to unwind yourself.
Another example for you to notice is the person playing with their pen, either tapping it on the table or whatever you see. If they are doing this in a rhythm, then try tapping the table with your finger in a slower half rhythm. In this case, you're not trying to get them to tap in your speed, but to establish that non-verbal connection through counterpoint rhythm.
Here's one for the people who are extremely observant. You've got to be really good in your observation skills to 'get' this one. Watch the person and how they're breathing. Look but don't stare, especially if you're a man and the interviewer is a woman. Watch how slow or fast they are breathing and how long each breath is taking. Then, do your best to match them. If the person is hyperventilating, don't go there. But if you can match their normal breathing pattern, then you're going to make a connection with the interviewer and they will have no idea why they like you, but they know they will.
There's a lot more to body language than what can be presented here, but at least you've got a head start over everyone else who doesn't know anything about it. Just remember when you mirror, it's supposed to be unnoticeable, so make your motions natural in both movement and speed.
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