It begins even before you say your first word in an interview. As the interviewer walks toward you to shake hands, an opinion is already being formed. And as you sit waiting to spew out your answers to questions you've prepared for, you are already being judged
by your appearance, posture,
smile or your nervous look.
Look back at speakers or teachers you've listened to. Which ones stand out as memorable? The ones who were more
animated and entertaining, or the ones who just gave out information? This is not to say you have to entertain the interviewer -- no jokes required -- but it does mean the conversation should be animated and interactive.
You say you are excited about the prospect of working for this company but don't show any enthusiasm, your message will probably fall flat. So smile, gesture once in a while, show some energy and breathe life into the interview experience.
And don't underestimate the value of a smile . In addition to the enthusiasm it expresses to the interviewer, smiling often makes you feel better about yourself.
The Handshake: It's your first encounter with the interviewer. She holds out her hand and receives a limp, damp hand in return -- not a very good beginning. Your handshake should be firm -- not bone-crushing -- and your hand should be dry and warm. Try running cold water on your hands when you first arrive at the interview site. Run warm water if your hands tend to be cold. The insides of your wrists are especially sensitive to temperature control.
Your Posture: Stand and sit straight. We're not talking military-like posture, but show some energy and enthusiasm. A slouching posture looks tired and uncaring. Check yourself out in a mirror or on videotape.
Eye Contact: Look the interviewer in the eye. You don't want to stare at her like you're trying to look into her soul, but be sure to make sure your eyes meet frequently. Avoid constantly looking around the room while you are talking, because that can convey nervousness or a lack of confidence with what is being discussed.
Your Hands: Gesturing or talking with your hands is very natural, but keep it in moderation. Getting carried away with hand gestures can be distracting. Also, avoid touching your mouth while talking. Watch yourself in a mirror while talking on the phone. Chances are you are probably using some of the same gestures in an interview.
Don't Fidget: There is nothing worse than people playing with their hair, clicking pen tops, tapping feet or unconsciously touching parts of the body.
what you have to say is important, but practicing how you will say it is imperative. The nonverbal message can speak louder than the verbal message you're sending. Preparing
Perfect Your Business Handshake Communicating confidence and reliability is essential to the success of any business. And since administrative assistants are often on the front lines of a company's public image, knowing how to make a good first impression is one of the unspoken but fundamental parts of their jobs.
Whether you're interacting with a customer, your boss or a colleague in another company, a confident, well-executed handshake is one of the best business skills you can cultivate to ensure that each new encounter gets off on the right foot -- and that you are representing yourself and your company positively.
Anatomy of a Perfect Handshake
A handshake is "an opportunity to establish rapport and positive chemistry," suggests Dana May Casperson in Power Etiquette: What You Don't Know Can Kill Your Career . "An immediate bond develops from the touch of a hand that sets the tone for conversation and future business association."
While a handshake might seem a fairly simple and straightforward gesture, there are nuances involved with this highly psychological social ritual. These expert tips will help you ensure that your handshake is communicating what you want it to :
Get the Timing Right: Shake hands whenever you are introduced to someone, whenever you introduce yourself to someone, and whenever you say goodbye, says Casperson.
Speak Up: Say something when you shake hands, suggests Casperson. You can acknowledge the person's name and say, "It's very nice to meet you, Mr. Jones" or "Good to see you again."
Get a Grip: Your grip speaks volumes, say Peter and Peggy Post in The Etiquette Advantage in Business: Personal Skills for Professional Success . A limp one suggests hesitance or mousiness, while a bone cruncher can seem overly enthusiastic or domineering. A medium-firm grip conveys confidence and authority.
Dry Your Palms: Nobody likes clammy hands, says Jennifer Star, copresident of The Jennifer Group, a New York City-based recruiting firm specializing in administrative support staff. Sweaty palms communicate nervousness, which can subconsciously make people feel like you've got something to hide. Star suggests carrying Kleenex or liquid baby powder to rub on your palms before shaking hands.
Shake Palm to Palm: Make sure you shake palm to palm, and keep your hand perpendicular to the ground. An upturned palm may subconsciously signal submissiveness -- a downward palm, dominance, say the Posts. And while grasping the top of the person's hand with your other hand while shaking can often be a signal of warmth and affection, the Posts caution that this forward of a greeting might seem presumptuous or insincere when used in a first meeting.
Mind Your Audience: Be observant, and follow the cues of those around you, says Casperson. Respond with pressure that meets the pressure you receive. Don't try to overpower the other person if their grasp is more timid. And be aware that different social boundaries prevail in different cultures. In North America and Europe, a firm handshake is an appropriate form of greeting, the Posts say. In Asia and the Middle East, where handshaking is still relatively new, the grip is gentler; a too-hearty grip could be interpreted as aggressive.
Know When to Let Go: The ideal handshake lasts approximately three seconds. The hands can be gently pumped once or twice, and then it's time to pull back your hand, even if you are still conversing.