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  • Can Body Language Be Learned?

    shutterstock_125429207Ten minutes after I meet with a coaching client for the first time, the client is facing my video camera for 60 to 90 seconds. Then we watch the video together. Differently from in real life and because we have modern technology, I can separate the impression—and the client’s image—from the spoken words. I simply turn the speakers off so I don’t get influenced by the video’s verbal content and context. This is a powerful experience, one that provides rich information. In most cases a client can use that information for improving job interview skills and then can apply the newly learned skills during a job interview. Most people are awestruck by their video experience. In less than two minutes, people can see for themselves how they’re perceived by others—something they couldn’t have known before.

    Albert Mehrabian, currently UCLA professor emeritus of psychology, published his findings on inconsistent communication of feelings and attitudes and on the relative importance of verbal messages and nonverbal messages. He devised what’s known as the 55%-38%-7% rule. Professor Mehrabian’s basic tenet is that when we communicate with other people, we’re being judged to the extent of 55% by our nonverbal behavior such as body language and facial expression, 38% by our tone of voice, and only the remaining 7% by the actual words we speak and their context. Moreover, if the words we use are incongruent with our body language and tonality, then the other person tends to believe more in what he sees and hears and less in the meaning of the words.

    When we interview, our body language says a lot about us and about our emotional state; and poor body language often sends the message that we’re stressed or fearful. But even before the interview interaction begins, the interviewer looks at your face, your hair, your clothes, and the image you’re projecting. Thus, he forms an opinion about you before you’ve even had a chance to formally meet.

    The interviewer observes your body language and interprets it quickly, knowing at once whether you’re scared, passive, underqualified, or something else. If you say the wrong thing, the interviewer can forgive that, but if your body language says something different from what you actually say—for example, you say you’re a person who works well in stressful situations, but your body language betrays the fact that you’re indeed stressed; or, for another example, you say you’re confident, but your body language again betrays the fact that you’re not—well, those are things an interviewer knows you can’t change.

    Following are a few body language mistakes to avoid during a job interview.

    • Crossing your arms, which suggests you’re either overconfident or uncomfortable
    • Lack of eye contact, especially while the interviewer is talking
    • Not smiling, which makes you appear nervous or unfriendly
    • Hiding your hands, because the interviewer will want to interpret how open and honest you are by looking at your hands

    The only way to improve correspondence between the words you say and what your body language says is to prepare for the interview and practice, practice, and practice some more. It’s best to practice interviewing with someone who can point out to you your areas of deficiency and can guide you in making improvements.

    While on a job interview, you’re nothing other than an actor onstage. Just think about how much preparation it takes to perform on Broadway.

    I am a Career Coach and my specialty is Interview Preparation. I'm known as "The Landing Expert." My clients are 90% job seekers in transition and 10% those who contemplate a career change. CLIENTS BENEFIT FROM MY SERVICES AS FOLLOWS: • Most clients land, on average, within 5 months. • In-office clients are videotaped in an interview simulation followed by a lively discussion. • Clients get "straight-talk" coaching. This "tough-love" approach pinpoints their weaknesses quickly and lets them make real-time corrections (improvements) in performance. • Interview preparation techniques are customized for a wide range of professional backgrounds, age groups and learning styles. • Clients are trained to analyze an interviewer's question then provide a focused response. • Clients are exposed to a variety of interview questions from across many industries. • Audio/Video and screen collaboration sessions can be recorded for future viewing. • Clients have on-demand access to "in-transition" support. SPECIAL ADVANTAGES FOR CLIENTS INCLUDE: • Interview preparation includes both verbal and non-verbal communication (i.e., body language and voice). • Based on 12 years of experience with 750 clients worldwide, new clients are taught how to confront and survive the most challenging interview scenarios. • Clients have immediate access to my network of 29,950+ Level 1 LinkedIn connections. • Clients and non-clients alike have access via my website www.landingexpert.com to my directory of job search/networking groups throughout NY, NJ, PA, CT, DE and GA. • To provide the greatest possible reach, I have communication skills in five (5) different languages and offer unlimited e-mail & phone support. Get customized interview preparation and access to my 29,950+ Level 1 LinkedIn connections! Go to http://www.landingexpert.com/ then SERVICES and FEES for detailed information. Contact info: [email protected] or ✆ 609.333.8866 EST

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