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I’ve been writing about listening skills last week don’t miss 7 tips to become a better active listener and 6 ways to become a better listener. One point that came up several times – body language is an important element of good listening. Think about it – eye contact, nodding, leaning in to listen – all of these help your conversation partner recognize how engaged you are and helps him or her feel valued as part of a conversation.

Body language may be more important than you think in a job hunt.

Kate Lorenz wrote about the topic for She said:

Research has shown that the first impression you make on an interviewer really sticks. In one study, untrained subjects were shown 20- to 32-second videotaped segments of job applicants greeting their interviewers. When the subjects rated the applicants on attributes like self-assurance and likeability, their assessments were very similar to the interviewers’ — who had spent more than 20 minutes with each applicant.

Seems like focusing on your body language – and first impressions – matters – a lot!

I once wrote a term paper about the importance of body language. The quote I remember from it,

“Don’t underestimate the power of body language,”

from The Little Mermaid, is no less true today!

(Yes, I really quoted a Disney movie in my paper. It worked.)

Did you know that people who are positive and confident outperform their peers in their job searches? Research shows that persistence and a postive attitude pay off in the job hunt. You can always pick out a pessimist by his or her body language – slumped shoulders, eyes down, expressionless (or frowning). No one wants to hire someone who seems sad or pessimistic. Straighten up, smile and make eye contact. Your body language speaks louder than your words.

In fact, research also shows that body language makes up more than half of how our communication is perceived. That means that you may be describing your greatest business accomplishment, but if your posture isn’t good and you don’t make effective eye contact, you might as well tell the interviewer about the time you lost your portfolio on the way to a presentation.

Another telling body language tool is the handshake.

How many times do we have to tell you – strong and firm gets the job done! BusinessWeek wrote about several different types of handshakes to use and some to avoid. Eye contact along with a firm handshake can make a world of difference to how you are being perceived.

Remember – the little things matter.

In fact, the “little things” may actually be the BIG things! Focus on every aspect of your presentation to ensure that you put your best foot forward with your job search.

photo by Gerwin Filius

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  • I think it’s also interesting how important non verbal communication plays in meaning. It’s not just the words that make a difference. For example the tone people use. I always make the analogy of when a footballer reads out an apology for some misdemeanor. They convince very few people, no matter how well chosen their words are. The simple act of putting their hands on their hearts, looking the audience in the eye and saying a heartfelt sorry, is far more convincing.
    .-= Karalyn Brown´s last blog ..Five Tricks Recruiters Use to Find you =-.