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Body Language

Updated 07/27/2017

   Body language says more about you then you will.
   Understand the information below to prevent from
   becoming your own worse enemy in the Interview
   Room.  Also, see the two attached documents at the
   end of this web page to provide additional help.

   You will also find a KEY POINTS QUICK REFERENCE
   table outlining body language most forget to watch!
                                                                                                                                                                  (Click on graphic to image)

   Reading Someone's Body Language 

    10 proven tactics for reading people's body language  |  BusinessInsider, Mike Nudelman   05/12/2015
    Includes a graphic to help you read other people's body language.


    8 Ways Body Language Beats IQ  |  Linkedin, Dr. Travis Bradberry                                                              07/12/2017
    When it comes to success, it’s easy to think that people blessed with brains are inevitably
    going to leave the rest of us in the dust, but social psychologist Amy Cuddy knows first-hand
    how attitude can outweigh IQ. 
Cuddy suffered a car accident at the age of 19 which resulted
    in brain damage that took 30 points from her IQ. Before the crash Cuddy had an IQ near genius
    levels; her post-crash IQ was just average. A
s someone who had always built her identity
    around her intelligence, the significant dip in Cuddy’s IQ left her feeling powerless and
    unconfident. Despite her brain damage, she slowly made her way through college and even got
    accepted into the graduate program at Princeton.
    [Amy's TED presentations are in TheCTGroups.org site under TED Videos]   


    You Are What You Do: 16 Ways to Improve Your Body Language
        |  Wisebread, Nora Dunn                                                                                                                                                         18/10/2011
    What you say is only the tip of the iceberg of communication. The rest lies in your
    body language: how you hold yourself, your mannerisms, conduct, and even how
    you breathe. With a little conscious effort to improve your body language, you
    stand a better chance of scoring that job, that date, or simply being seen as the
    engaging and genuine person that you are.

    TED Playlist: Talks to watch before a job interview
    Interviews can be intimidating. These talks are full of useful tips, tricks, and advice
    that can help you land the job you're after. Make sure you watch the video from
    Amy Cuddy and Julian Treasure at a MINIMUM as both are highly beneficial to many.

    You've perfected and polished every last word of that presentation, elevator pitch, or
    sales spiel. It's so ingrained in your memory, you're certain that your delivery and your

    body language are absolutely spot-on.
    That's not what your audience or conversational partner sees, though. Instead, they're
    looking at someone who appears 
nervous and self-conscious.

    7 Body Language Mistakes To Avoid  |  American Express, Open Forum, Mike Michalowicz                    08/12/2011
    Body language includes all the things that are being said by everything from your posture
    to the way you play with your hair in the midst of a conversation. Believe it or not, all these
    things express what you may not be saying verbally, and the person on the other side of
    the table is picking up on every non-verbal word!

    10 Body Language Mistakes That Sabotage Most Interviews  |  Wisebread, Paul Michael  06/03/2012
    Question — how much of what you “say” is actually interpreted through body language
    and tone of voice? Well, if we are to believe Albert Mehrabian, almost all of it.
Professor Albert Mehrabian has stated that only 7% of a message is conveyed verbally,
    through words. The other 93% is split between tone of voice (38%) and body language
    (55%). In fact, it’s widely known as the 7-38-55 rule.

    13 Body Language Blunders That Make You Look Bad  |  LinkedIn, Dr. Travis Bradberry        11/10/2016
    Our bodies have a language of their own, and their words aren’t always kind. Your body
    language has likely become an integral part of who you are, to the point where you might
    not even think about it.
    If that’s the case, it’s time to start, because you could be sabotaging your career.  

    15 Biggest Body Language Mistakes To Watch Out For  |  LinkedIn, Bernard Mar r               07/07/2014
    Until we get to know someone, our brain relies on snap judgments to try to categorize
    the person, predict what they will do, and anticipate how we should react. You may have
    heard that you only have a few seconds to make a first impression, but the truth is, your
    brain has made up its mind (so to speak) about a person within milliseconds of meeting

    Our bodies have a language of their own, and their words aren’t always kind. Your body
    language has likely become an integral part of who you are, to the point where you might
    not even think about it.
    If that’s the case, it’s time to start, because you could be sabotaging your career.

   16 Body Language MISTAKES that Make People Distrust You (Slideshow) |  Inc, Minda Zetlin
    Don't destroy your own credibility Whether you're telling the truth or lying, these gestures
    send an unconscious signal telling others not to believe you. If you want to be trusted,
    practice avoiding them.

    Rock your next interview with these 5 secrets of body language
       |  LinkedIn, Vanessa Van Edwards, Behavioral Investigator and Author                                                                                    06/01/2017       
How will you prepare for your next big interview? Most of us think about the verbal answers
    —what to say, stories to tell and the perfect answers. Very few of us think about how we want
    to come across.
    As a human behavior investigator, I have spent the last ten years doing original research on
    scientifically proven social strategies and tactics to help you succeed at my behavior lab The
    Science of People. I've worked with multiple Fortune 500 companies teaching them my
    comprehensive, science-backed, real life manual on human behavior and a completely new
    approach to building connections.


      This section has been expanded to include common Interview Mistakes people make and
      thus goes beyond Body Language.

      See attached charts at the bottom of this web page.
  • Ankles Crossed, legs stretched out
      - The Candidate (or interviewer) are probably feeling positively towards you.
         But if the feet are pulled away from you, wrapped in a tight ankle lock, pointed at
         an exit or wrapped around the legs of a chair, usually indicated withdrawl or

  • Arrival Mistakes
      - The only thing worse than arriving too early or late is not arriving at all without notice.
         If you arrive early, wait in your car until about 10 minutes before the meeting.  DO NOT
         arrive late as it impacts your potential in many ways you may never recover from. Every
         Receptionist will automatically call the person you are interviewing with despite requests
         to wait until later. This disrupts the interview in progress and does not look favorably on
         you if it is too early.

  • Attire Inappropriate
    - Looking cool and stylish is a far difference from sloppy and inappropriate. This is a business
         meeting which requires business attire which includes being clean and wrinkle free.

  • Avoiding Eye Contact
      - suggests you have something to hide, arouses their suspicion.

  • Being Stiff
      - Holding your torso still makes it seem you are suppressing any urge to move so as not
         to give 
         yourself away.

  • Breaking Eye Contact Too Soon
      - can make you seem untrustworthy or overly nervous. Hold eye contact slightly longer,
         especially during a handshake where trust is first built.

  • Claiming Your Space
      - Don't make yourself "small" in the interview: ladies, don't cross your legs and guys, don't
    your arms over your chest as these show signs of insecurity and potentially something
         you are trying to hide. Make yourself comfortable and don't let your body show tension.

  • Cracking Your Knuckles
      - perceived as being a macho, attention-getting, behavior.

  • Checking Your Phone or Watch
      - does this person really want to be here? Also, bad manners showing disrespect.

  • Chopping or Pointing with Your Hands
      - feels aggressive to the other attendees.

  • Clasping or Rubbing Hands Together
      - suggests nervous or uncomfortable while rubbing your hands suggest you have "sealed the
         deal" which is arrogant.

  • Copycat - mimic your gestures
     - suggests interviewer sees you as a kindred spirit and likely to get approved. When we
        deal with someone we like or are interested in, we subconsciously switch our body
        posture to match that of the other person - mirroring their nonverbal behavior and
        signaling that we are connected and engaged.

  • Crossed Arms or Closed Body
      - physical barrier suggesting not open to what the interviewers are saying. Perception you
         are being defensive especially if answering a question. Open arms are inviting.

  • Eye Contact Missing
    - Looking everywhere except with the person or persons you are talking to suggest you
         cannot be trusted and are holding something back.

  • Eye Contact that is TOO Intense
      - perceived as aggressive, attempt to dominate.

  • Eye Rolling
      - Your sincere words will be undermined by the rolling of your eyes.

  •  Exaggerated Gestures
      - implies you're stretching the truth.

  • Exaggerated Nodding
      - signals anxiety about approval.

  • Failing to Smile
      - makes people uncomfortable, wonder if you really want to be there. A genuine smile wins
    over for those initial few minutes.

  • Feeble First Impressions
      - employers can spot the right candidate within 30 seconds so be confident, not arrogant.

  • Feet
      - If their feet are pointed towards the door, they may be ready to talk all day but they are
         eager for the conversation to come to a close.

  • Fidgeting
      - with fixing your hair signals you are anxious, over-energized, self-conscious and distracted.

  • Fig leaf
      - People will place their hands in the front of their genitals out of personal discomfort or
    (such as funerals). It is also a sign of fear or something you seek to hide.

  • Fragrances and Music
      - Avoid any odors on you or your clothing. Dry cleaning chemical smells, perfume, cologne,
         tobacco, food or beverage smells, and the like can be damaging. Odor and music are two
         strong memory triggers. The last thing you need is to remind your interviewer of that no
         good cheating ex-spouse that robbed them blind and divorced you and the kids. Hearing
         any music can also trigger very strong negative emotions about someone else but are
         reflected back against you.  Don't do it!

  • Full frontal response.
      - IF the interviewer's entire body - head, shoulders, hips and feet - are oriented toward
         you, they are totally engrossed in what you're saying. When engaged, people will face you
         directly, "pointing" at you with their whole body. If they feel uncomfortable, they may
         angle th
    eir upper body away.

  • Gesturing Too Low
      - Gestures should be in front your body at the shoulder or chest height so that they may be seen.
         Gestures from the waste or lower are harder to see potentially suggesting you have something
         you want to hide.

  • Fronting
      - When speaking with someone, angle your toes, torso, and head towards them as best as you
         can. This is a nonverbal sign of respect. Notice all the LinkedIn Profile photos that are taken
         at an angle? Take the hint! You do have a professional LinkedIn photo in place, right???

  • Hand Gestures
      - If you have had training for use of your hands to send messages, use them. If not, be very
         careful of the unconscious signals you are sending that may destroy your credibility.  Do
         not put your hands in your pocket or behind your back as it suggests you have something to

  • Handshakes
      - Shake hands when you meet someone and when you depart. Failing to shake hands at the
         end suggests you didn't like what you saw/heard and it is simply rude.

  • Holding Object in Front of You
      - Holding something in front of you with both hands is seen as another way of "closing yourself"
         off in the United States, but is viewed in some other countries as a sign of respect.

  • Holding your Hands Behind Your Back or In Your Pockets
      - can make you look rigid and stuff. Go for the natural look; hands at your sides.

  • Inconsistency
      -  your words and facial expression create a perception something isn't right.

  • Invading Personal Space
      - Standing too close to someone (less than 1.5 feet) will make people uncomfortable.
         3 to 8 feet is an appropriate distance for most settings.

  • Leaning Back Too Much
      - appear to be lazy or arrogant or are not engaged with what is being said. This can also be
         viewed as "moving away" to avoid invading another person's space. Do NOT increase your
         space by moving away from the other person as this creates literal space between you.

  • Leaning Forward
      - seen as an aggressive move. Aim for a neutral posture.

  • Leg "Wobble"
      - This is seen as nervous energy, restless leg syndrome or just a bad habit and sends a loud
         message you are anxious and can't wait to get out of that room.

  • Listening without Eye Contact
      - When speaking, make eye contact 50% of the time, 70% when listening. Otherwise, you may
         come across as duplicitous or uninterested.

  • Looking Up or Around
      - Natural cue that someone is lying or not being themselves. Hold steady eye contact but not

  • No Hand Movement
      - Most people perceive, correctly, that someone who speaks without gestures is being dishonest.
         Liars worry that their hands will give them away, so they tend to hold them still.

  • Nodding Too Much
      - Bobble head doll! Even if you agree with what's said nod once then remain still.

  • Nodding "no" or Shaking Your Head "yes"
      - Often this reflect the opposite of what the person is or has said. Keep your head in the game
         with minimal movement.

  • Oxytocin
      - When we gaze with someone we produce oxytocin, a hormone of connection. Don't over
         do it, limit it to around 60 to 70% of the time. Feel free to look around the room at others
         while talking and ensure you are making eye contact with each person as you talk.
         Notice their facial expression to decode their emotions.

  • Palm Down or Closed Fist
    This indicates aggression or superiority and also that you are literally closed to whatever
         the other person is saying. This is not a way to build relationships.
  • Props
      - If you have an item for carrying your documents, gracefully rise, pick it up from beside you, 
         enter the Interview Room, and sit in the place you are directed to. Keep all unessential items
         in the case, well organized and easy to access to avoid looking clumsy and unprepared.

  • Restroom Visit
      - If you arrive early, you can use some of your extra time to ensure you are prepared to sit for
         the entire period without discomfort PLUS check your hair and attire for anything that is not
         pristine for your first face-to-face meeting.

  • Scowling
      - having a generally unhappy expression suggests you're upset by those around you, even if
         they have nothing to do with your mood.

  • Seating
      - Avoid a low couch as it is hard to claim your space and you may "sink" into it leaving you in a
         bad position for an interview. Look for the highest chair with a tall back and arm rest.

  • Shoulders
      - IF the interviewer shrugs one shoulder as they talk about the company's great story, it may
         not be that great. A partial, or abridged, shoulder shrug usually indicates that a person lacks
         conviction about what they are saying.

  • Shrugging one Shoulder
      - This can make you appear indifferent, uninformed, or unhappy. It can also indicate you are

  • Sitting Directly Across from the Other Person
      - Sometimes there is no option, but if you can sit at a 45-degree angle from the other person,
         your conversation will feel more collaborative and less confrontational and is a good first step
         in trust building.

  • Sitting Up Too Straight
      - Makes others feel uncomfortable and suggests you are too stiff or prudish.

  • Slouching
      -  sign of disrespect, you are board and do not desire to be there.

  • Smile Appropriately
      - Nothing is worse than a fake smile or inappropriate time for a smile. Smile when you meet or
         leave someone. Smile when talking about great things you have achieved.

  • Standing with Hands on Hips
      - aggressive posture, like an animal attempting to make them look bigger and stronger.

  • Staring
      - Seen as aggressive; a fine line between holding someone's gaze and starting them down.

  • Stepping Back when Asking for a Decision
      - suggests fear or uncertainty. Stand your ground or even take a slight step forward.

  • Tilting your Head Back
      - Conveys a sign of defiance or arrogance leavingyou literally looking down your nose at the
         other person or people in the room.

  • Tilting their Head
      -  If the interviewer tilts their heads as you're speaking, they want to hear more. This is
          usually a signal that someone is interested, curious and involved. It is a universal gesture
          of "giving the other person an ear."

  • Touching your Face
      - Hands off your nose, lips, forehead as all of these imply nervous or dishonest.

  • Turning yourself away from Others
      -  not leaning into your conversation, not engaged, uninterested, uncomfortable,
          distrust the speaker.

  • Vision directed to ...
      - If the interviewer has good eye contact with you or keeps glancing at your resume, they
        are likely interested in you for the position. We gaze longer at people and things we like.
        Conversely, the amount of eye contact decreases or you will notice they keep glancing
        around the room if there is little or no interest.

  • Watching the Clock or your PDA, Pager or Cell Phone
      -  talking to someone while watching the clock is a clear sign of arrogance, disrespect,
    and inflated ego.

  • Weak Handshakes
      - signals you lack authority and confidence, while a handshake that is too strong could be
         perceived as an aggressive attempt to dominate which is just as bad as being weak.

  Sources: various including Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D.
The CT Groups,
Jun 27, 2017, 7:55 AM
The CT Groups,
Jun 27, 2017, 7:56 AM