Whether wrong or right, body language can be a big factor in how people perceive you. In a world where less face time is had thanks to different technologies and work ideologies, body language is still as important, if not more important, when you do have those in-person meet ups. Whether you’re a department lead or going in for an interview, the way you carry yourself matters, and we’ve detailed a couple things to pay attention to, regardless of what side of the desk you’re on.
Something that our parents have been telling us since we were old enough to walk still applies to this day, stand and sit up straight. Slouching can be a sign up laziness and uncaring. This especially holds true if you’re going in for an interview. Slouching can look on the surface as disinterest and disregard towards the entire interview process. You might have your best suit on and answer the questions perfectly, but if you’re slouching, the best interview can still go south quickly.
Another thing to focus on is maintaining eye contact with whoever you’re speaking with. It portraits confidence and interest, two things very important in the business world. Another way to show interest is by leaning in occasionally. Posture is still important, so you shouldn’t be leaning in the whole time, but the occasional shift forward shows that you are engaged in the conversation, this is especially helpful in interview situations.
In a similar vein, smile and nod. Smiling creates a positive environment and can be disarming in a stern environment, such as a meeting or interview. Nodding shows interest and when you combine the two it gives the other person the feeling that there is no place else you’d rather be. Hand gestures can also show interest, but don’t go overboard with them, you don’t want to be wailing your hands around for the entire interaction. When not using gestures, forming a steeple with your fingertips is always a safe bet, and a show of confidence. Refrain from leaving them in your pockets or crossing your arms, as this comes off as defensive and possibly timid.
While it can seem ridiculous that our body manners can change how someone looks at us, there is psychology behind it and it’s something we should all be aware of. Rather it’s a first interview or a meeting with your team, how you carry yourself can be the difference in a successful interaction and a disastrous one.