Have you ever seen an interview on television, with a celebrity you like, and found it awkward? This is often the case, but the answer is simple: non-verbal communication can influence the way we see and feel about things.
It is very important to note that this does not only apply to a public interview or to a public celebrity. For example, in a job interview, non-verbal communication is vital. But furthermore, in any social meeting, good non-verbal expression makes a difference in how others will see you.
But what is non-verbal communication?
There are many definitions, some of them really complicated, but it is not so difficult to describe what non-verbal communication is: it is expressing yourself without words.
The problem with non-verbal communication is that we are not always in control of what we want to transmit. In verbal communication, it is relatively easy to maintain a coherent discussion. In non-verbal communication, our actions, habits, tics, or movements can reveal even more than what we are saying with our words.
An interesting debate that has been going on for years is whether non-verbal communication also includes aspects that characterize us, such as appearance, image, and even clothing.
We may or may not incorporate these elements when we try to face an interview of any kind. What we transmit with our non-verbal communication can be totally disconnected from what we are expressing.
You can also emphasize, you can even exaggerate: who doesn’t remember Oprah’s awkward interview with Tom Cruise. The actor’s non-verbal communication was so exaggerated that, even today, it is still considered one of the most uncomfortable and weirdest interviews she has ever conducted.
What you should consider in an interview if you are concerned about your non-verbal communication
If you are really concerned about how you behave in a non-verbal interview (or anywhere) there are a number of points you should look at and be aware of:
- It can be trained: it is possible to train and improve your body position, the reaction to certain feelings or sensations with gestures and movements, the control of hand movements, and so on. In fact, for someone who is going to face job interviews, it is highly recommended to train your non-verbal communication.
- It is taken into account: we have already seen that if someone communicates non-verbally out of context, it changes the perception of others. In the case of official, work, and administrative interviews, however, this is taken into account when assessing the outcome of the meeting.
- It is better to consider it as a whole: although it is not accepted in a unanimous way, it is also interesting to consider aspects such as our image, clothing, aesthetics, and even personal hygiene as part of the non-verbal communication.
The conclusion is that, if it has always been important what we transmit with our gestures, behavior, and attitude, in a world as visual and connected as today’s, it is simply essential.
No matter whether it is for an interview or just to cope with everyday life, being aware of the importance of non-verbal communication is really relevant.