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3 critical body language influencing skills for young people at their first job interviews

I was asked the other day what my Top 3 Influencing tips for young people attending interviews for the first time would be.  I wrote this specifically for young people so if you know any who are looking for a job right now pass this on to them.

These are all skills that need to be honed and practiced, rather than tips. They don’t come naturally to the average teenager, but when combined, they create a powerful presence. And that presence creates the platform a young person needs to impress an adult employer with the content of their conversation.

1 Create, maintain and take cues from deliberate eye contact.

As soon as you see your interviewer, establish eye contact. Smile. Maintain eye contact without entering into a staring competition. Allow your natural intuition to guide how you respond to the next question or situation based upon how you ‘read’ the person’s face and eyes. Deliberately re-establish a confident eye contact connection when you are about to deliver a great answer – it amplifies the impact.

Most young people are severely unpractised at managing eye contact with adults. Among their peers, eye contact is optional and it is perfectly acceptable to have a conversation whilst engaging in another activity without ever intentionally looking at a person’s face for empathetic cues. Shoe gazers rarely get the great jobs. Great eye contact gives you a head start

2 Develop a good handshake

In the world of work a handshake speaks volumes about who you are. It is a critical component of creating a great and memorable first impression. Practice initiating and responding to a hand shake invitation.  Do it deliberately with your parents, family members and friends.

Look the person in the eye. Stand upright at the right distance – don’t lean into the person to reach their hand.
Create a firm grip. It hasn’t got to be a bone-crunching confirmation of physical strength. It is not a competition.
Don’t rush into it or out of it; and don’t shake too much! A couple of ups and downs is enough.
If you know the person’s name mention it in your greeting – don’t just say ‘Hello’.

3 Speak clearly

You are looking to create a great, memorable impression. You have practiced your statements, you have thought about what questions might come up and you have memorised your answers to some of the questions you expect to be asked. Now it is time to deliver.

Practice speaking at about 80% of your normal conversational speed and use that speed in your meeting. This will help you speak more clearly. It will allow you time to consider your response and will make your conversation appear super intelligent and well considered. It also helps you avoid too many ‘Um’ ‘Er’ ‘Uh’ ‘Hmm’ and ‘Like’ type interjections; which will set you apart from the other young people looking for the same job.

By the way, what do you think? Is there something else you would put into the top 3?
Till next time,

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