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Real Business : 2013 Issue 1
YOU'VE DONE the hard work: got the great marks, researched the job market and landed an inter view with your employer of choice. Now 30 minutes of communication with a selection panel is all that stands between you and your dream graduate position. Of course, you'll rehearse some answers to the predictable questions, but it's not just the words that need to be practiced. With experts estimating that up to 55 per cent of communication is non-verbal, body language is an important aspect of job interviews -- and meetings in general -- that can sometimes be forgotten. David Alssema is a Perth, Western Australia, expert in non-verbal communication. He says job candidates should ensure their body language matches the messages their words are conveying. " ey want to see a natural person," Alssema says. "So be open and con dent." Recruiters also want to interact with candidates on an equal level, so it often pays to match your body language to the person you are speaking to. Alssema says some of the most important body language tips for job interviews are also the most simple. GET A GRIP Handshakes are the customary greeting in business in Australia for men and women. A rm- but-gentle grip helps to build an immediate rapport. Candidates should o er their hand at a natural height for the receiver, with no angle either toward or away from them. Where possible, match the receiver 's rmness, but keep a rm grip as a default setting. e interview should be a friendly occasion, so smiling is important. Points delivered while smiling will be received more positively and are more likely to be remembered. Eye contact should ideally match the person you are speaking with and be as natural as possible. STORY PAUL HOWELL Posture is also important. While you should certainly be comfortable, avoid any temptation to lean back or slouch. is can come across as a way of distancing yourself from your potential employer. Sitting forward, on the other hand, is a sign of active listening and involvement in the conversation. MEETING MANNERISMS Alssema says many of these body language tips also apply to business meetings. " e table hides a lot of your body language," he says, "but can also emphasise the body movements that are visible." Hand gestures can make or break your contribution. Alssema advises being e cient with them in meetings. Pointing a nger is the most negative gesture you can make. Another important factor concerning meetings is the Business is all about communication -- and not just the words we use. Understanding the body language on display during a job interview can give graduates the edge. BODY LANGUAGE Let your body do the talking Communication skills They may not be the focus of a university business qualification, but they are a vital part of any graduate's resume. Now, more than ever, getting ahead in business demands the ability to create succinct messages for teammates, bosses and clients, and to decipher those being presented. It doesn't need to be constant; maintaining eye contact for too long can become an uncomfortable stare. A few seconds of eye contact while you speak, breaking regularly to look up (implies thoughtfulness) or switching between inter viewers is best. Simple, positive hand gestures to emphasise points can add to your presentation. When not speaking, your hands should lie loosely in your lap while seated. Fidgeting or gripping the chair can convey apathy or defensiveness. Folded arms or clasped hands can come across as defensive or a sign of frustration. allocation of seats. ose at the ends of a rectangular table will generally have more talk-time, while those at the sides have a greater opportunity to hide. " e best spot [for keeping a low pro le] is actually next to the boss," Alssema says, as people are most likely to look at those opposite them. When speaking in a meeting your body should face the majority of participants or the previous speaker. As in inter views, eye contact and a healthy smile will go a long way to ensuring your message is received positively. WEBLINK Learn more body language at cpaaustralia.com.au/realbusiness 25
Issue 3 2012