You’ve heard how important body language is, but you probably don’t realize how important it really
We’ve been talking a lot about media interviews and how you should or should not handle them. Most of that has to do with your prep work and how you actually answer the questions, but there’s another key we haven’t really touched on.
You see, the words that come out of your mouth tell only half the story. The other half isn’t spoken at all. It’s told through your body language. You know, the look on your face, your posture, the position of your arms, and the funny thing is that most people who are watching you won’t even consciously recognize it. Rest assured, your body language will sway their opinions of you, whether they know it or not.
With that in mind, imagine the power you could have if you mastered your secret weapon. Imagine how you could win those reporters over and kill that interview through the way you held yourself. Below, we’ll discuss how to make your body language work in your favor.
Bigger is better
That’s right, the old adage rings true. Bigger is better when it comes to execution in your interview. What do I mean exactly by that? Well, I’m not saying you should be screaming and jumping around, but you definitely want to use your hands to make gestures. People who talk with their hands tend to get the crowd more involved. Maybe it’s because as they make gestures, their words seem to get stronger and better.
Not sure how much is too much? The size of your venue and audience should dictate your hand gestures. In other words, if you’re having a one-on-one interview, you don’t want your arms completely outstretched, flailing about the room. Instead, you’re probably going to have your arms out in front of you, gesturing mostly with your hands. But if you’re in a press conference with a large room packed with reporters, well you need to get those arms up and moving.
Look into my eyes
When we’re digging deep trying to remember events and other information, it’s natural to look away. So when reporters are firing questions at you, you might find yourself having difficulty making eye contact as you try and find the answers to their questions. The problem with this is that people are going to assume you are lying if you aren’t looking at them. So you need to make a conscious effort to lock eyes when you can.
How do you lock eyes with a room full of reporters? Well, you can’t. But you can
gaze out into the crowd and scan. If it helps to look at someone’s head, that will work, too. In fact, this is probably a lot easier in a crowded room as opposed to a one on one where you have no choice but to lock eyes.
Point your feet toward the interviewer
OK, this one sounds downright silly, but it’s smart. Our feet point where we want to go. That means if your feet aren’t facing the interviewer, then you want out of the conversation. On the other hand, if your feet point toward them, that implies real interest.
Up the energy
We rarely see ourselves how we truly are. Such is the case with energy levels. Most people see themselves as being much more energetic than they really are. You don’t want to come off as a downer during your interview, so drink a cup of coffee and amp it up.
[RELATED: Ragan's new distance-learning site houses the most comprehensive video training library for corporate communicators.]
Body language matters on the phone, too
Think you’re off the hook because you’re on the phone? Think again. Using proper body language actually makes your speech better. Why do you think people can tell when you are smiling through the phone? Use all these tips during your phone interview and you’ll deliver better interviews, period.
Please share your body language tips in the comments.
Mickie Kennedy is the founder of eReleases. A version of this article originally appeared on the PR Fuel blog.