Improve Your Nonverbal Communication Skills

How to practice nonverbal communication skills before your job interview from Merrfeld Resumes. (SplitShire)You might be the most honest person to walk the earth since good ole Honest Abe, but if your gaze is super shifty, a potential employer might get the wrong impression.

You may never have realized that you have the annoying habit of constantly tapping your pen, unless a former coworker has threatened to toss said pen out the window.

In fact, you may have several quirky habits, expressions or verbal tics that could drive an interviewer batty. And you might not even know it!

So how do you fix those deal-killers if you’re not aware of them? Skype is a great resource in the effort to improve your nonverbal communication skills.

It’s an important endeavor. Researcher Albert Mehrabian found that when there are inconsistencies between what you say and your body language, your posture is the communication that speaks the loudest.

And you don’t want to distract or annoy a potential employer with a mannerism that has nothing to do with your ability to do the job.

Recording yourself speaking on Skype is an eye-opening way to see how you appear to others in conversation. It’s fairly simple to record a video message. You don’t even have to send it—simply watch it a few times through and delete. You can continue to rerecord messages as you work through your quirks.

Skype is also a super tool for checking your appearance. Dress in your interview outfit and look for wardrobe malfunctions: Does your neckline gap when you lean forward? Are your earrings distractingly dangly? Does your tag stick out of your collar when you take off your jacket? You may look perfect when you stand in front of the mirror, but add some movement and make sure you’re still pulled together—it’s a simple way to improve your nonverbal communication skills.

We use Skype at Merrfeld Resumes to help our clients practice interview questions. Because it’s one thing to watch yourself speak, and another entirely to watch yourself listen and respond. We can coach you on your pacing, eye contact, tonality and even what you’re doing with that pen while the interviewer is speaking.

Spending a little time in front of your computer screen can help you improve your nonverbal communication skills. When you’re face-to-face with yourself, you can spot those head bobs, excessive blinks, grand gestures, twiddling fingers and shifting eyes that might speak louder than words—and say all the wrong things!

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