By: Peer Career Coach Maira Zamir
Ever wonder how those people you see in a career fair look so confident? So passionate? How do they have that I-know-what-I-am-doing look? The answer is simple: body language!
But, what is body language?
Body language is the non-verbal communication you give someone through your facial expressions, gestures and body movements.In a professional setting, good body language can be an effective tool to land that important contact or that coveted internship for the summer.
Here are a few ways you can look like you know what you are doing:
1. Make eye contact
Try maintaining eye contact with others during social interactions, especially in interactions where you want to look confident. Good eye contact shows that you are interested in the conversation and are comfortable around the person. It also shows that you are attentive and actually listening to what someone is saying rather than just nodding. That being said, try not to stare or come off as too aggressive by too much eye contact as that could make people uncomfortable.
2. Maintain an assertive posture
Assertive body language moves at a steady pace, indicating that a person is feeling relatively relaxed. Even when they are speaking passionately, the movement is still smooth and under control.
3. Don’t fidget
Fidgeting is just another way of showing nervousness. Try to avoid showing nervousness by keeping fidgeting to a minimum. Make a mental note of each time you catch yourself fidgeting and try to control it by counting every time you fidget. Fidgeting/Nervous movements draw attention away from what you are saying and make it hard for others to focus on your message.
4. Nod your head while listening
Aside from making eye contact, nodding is another way of showing attentiveness. Nodding sends the message that you are understanding what the person is saying to you.
5. Work on your walk
We always discuss talking the talk, but it’s also important to learn how to walk the walk! Interviewers often make hiring judgments within the first 10 seconds of meeting you; how you walk into the room is a part of that judgment. Take long strides and don’t slouch or drag your feet while walking. A good walk will not only show confidence but will also make you look more professional.
6. Avoid your pockets
Our mothers kept telling us this when we were kids, and it’s time we listened! Sometimes putting your hands in your pocket happens subconsciously, but try your best to identify when this happens and casually take your hands out of your pocket.
7. Give a firm handshake
A handshake is an age old way of ‘sealing the deal’. Some of the World’s most prominent leaders and politicians do it and so can you! A firm handshake reassures that whatever conversation just happened was understood and taken in a positive way.
8. Breathe deeply, and speak on the exhale
Lastly, don’t forget to breathe. It’s okay to be nervous for that job interview or having to talk to a potential employer that impresses them enough to give you their contact information. Just remember to breathe in deeply and exhale and then do the talking. You got this!