JEAN'S BLOG. Best & Next Practices in: Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

Harvard Researcher Sheds Light On Interviewing Postures

Posted by Jean Cummings

Nov 1, 2010 9:26:00 AM

Image interviewing
Do you usually think that it's what you say that counts the most in terms of getting a job offer? Think again!

That's not to say that you shouldn't go into an interview fully prepared to get your message across, ask good questions, and answer questions skillfully. You must do so to be competitive. But new research indicates that how you stand and sit may have more impact on how you are perceived that you imagine.

Harvard Magazine has a fascinating article called "The Psyche on Automatic." Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy has found that, in order to be considered competent, you need to be sure that your posture sends the message that you are "powerful." There's a high correlation between perceived power and competence. And your posture is an important way to give the impression that you are powerful - or not.

In a "power posing" study, high power postures are "expansive positions with open limbs" and low power postures are "contactive positions with closed limbs." She advises women MBA candidates to stop crossing their legs and shrinking their physical presence. "Be as big as you are," she says. For men and women, the more you can spread your arms, keep your feet on the floor, and take up maximum space the more you will be perceived as powerful and therefor competent.

"In all animal species, postures that are expansive, open, and take up more space are associated with high power and dominance," Cuddy says.

There's more! Nonverbal cues of confidence and happiness produce a mirroring effect on the person you are with and therefor a sense of connection with the other.

And, a natural smile (which affects the eyes as well as the mouth) releases neurochemicals that "correlate with happy feelings." So, you are more likely to be perceived as warm and competent. These findings go to the "likability" quality that makes such a big difference in being successful in all aspects of life.

The takeaway for interviewing? Make sure that your body and your facial expressions communicate competence, confidence, and warmth - while acing the content part as well! You'll be a strong contender for the job.

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, interviewing, interviewing style, career management, Job Interviews

The Dalai Lama & Your Interviewing Style

Posted by Jean Cummings

Apr 30, 2010 4:18:00 PM


In a Harvard class he was teaching, Nick Morgan said that the Dalai Lama exemplifies 2 qualities that make for a great public speaker: charisma and authenticity. What if a job seeker had an interviewing style that had those qualities? My guess is that he or she would have a huge competitive edge.

Personal Branding Guru William Arruda, through his Reach interview series, introduced me to Nick's ideas about public speaking (refer to Nick Morgan's book Trust Me). Nick says that there are 4 parts to developing your own communication style: openness, connection, passion, and listening.

When I saw the Dalai Lama in the TD Garden with tens of thousands of others, I felt as though I was the only one in the room. Out of great quietness came this teaching voice. The impression of stillness and total non-judging acceptance that I felt was unique in my life and was unrelated to his words (which were mainly a rehashing of Buddhist tenets).  

If 80% of an interview's success lies in nonverbal communication, then it's critical to give out a sense of "presence" that matches the person you say you are. Part of what Nick is recommending is making sure your nonverbal cues align with what you are saying. Because the interviewer is going to believe your body language not your words!

If, for instance, you say you are a bold leader, it would be a good idea not to hunch your shoulders and use nervous hand gestures!

That day in the Garden, I saw how the Dalai Lama made the connection with the audience. Imagine if, in an interview, you were able to speak out of a place of deep conviction in yourself - about your unique promise of value, your achievements, and your strengths - while also connecting genuinely with the unique other that is your interviewer. Now that would be powerful.

 

Cross-posted at www.CareerHubBlog.com 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Topics: interviewing, interview style, interviewing style, personal brand

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