My favorite part of any speaking event is when I take questions from the audience. This is where I find out what people really want to know about communication. At one of my recent Student Body Language presentations a woman asked, “Can body language help me when I’m doing a job interview over the phone?” The surprising answer to this is, yes, absolutely!
Most people don’t have a hard time with the concept that their body language affects other people’s behavior. What don’t think about, though, is the fact that our body language affects our own behavior as well.
Think about it this way: when you’re feeling low and depressed, doesn’t it seem as if all the gravity of the earth has been turned up to eleven, and every part of your body seems to drag into the ground? And when you’re excited or happy, doesn’t it seem to go the other way? It’s as if there’s energy coming up from the ground that lifts every part of your body skyward. Strange as this may sound, the process works just as well in reverse. If you adopt the posture of a confident you will soon begin to feel more confident . IF you adopt the body language and facial expression of somebody who is happy, you will soon begin to feel happier.
What all if this means is that body language can be important to a telephone interview in two ways. First, it can help you achieve the mood or attitude you need to nail the interview, particularly if you adopt the right kind of body language before you even begin the phone call. Second, that attitude will be reflected in your voice in ways that you may not be consciously aware of, but which still will have an effect on the people to whom you’re speaking.
Here are four body language tips for nailing the phone interview. I should mention that they also work for sales calls.
Tip #1: Stand Up. When you stand your airway opens up and your voice sounds stronger and more confident. Because you want to sound energetic, feel free to move around a little, too.
Tip #2: Stand up straight. Confidence is reflected in erect posture. You know it when you see it: chin up, chest out, head held high. Adopting this posture will make you feel like you can take on the world, and this feeling will be reflected in your voice.
Tip #3: Use broad, expansive gestures. Dominant personalities tend to take up a lot of physical space. Their gestures are large and open as opposed to small and constrained. Gesture a little larger than normal when you talk and you’ll feel more confident. And don’t feel self-conscious. After all, nobody can see you.
Tip# 4: Close your eyes. With your eyes closed you’re less distracted by details from the room around you, and it’s easier to imagine that you’re standing in front of the interviewer talking to them directly. In fact, I recommend you do exactly that. Imagine the interviewer right in front of you. Try to see them in your mind’s eye. The result will be that your answers will sound more conversational and less like a script you’ve rehearsed in advance.
Try these four strategies during your next phone interview or sales call. You’ll be amazed at the difference they make.