Using verbal and non-verbal cues to communicate is something we all do but we may not necessarily be aware of our non-verbal cues all the time. For e.g. when listening to someone else, we may have provided a response without saying anything - it could have been a frown, a movement of the eyes, a slight tilt of the chin, or a nod. Depending on the words that were used, these non-verbal cues signal a message to the person watching it.
There are many different non-verbal cues that we discuss during interview skills training. They range from posture, handshake technique, eye contact etc. The list can be overwhelming, and it then becomes rather contrived if the candidate goes to an interview trying to remember all the different points.
What I find more useful than to go through each non-verbal cue separately, is to let our interview skills clients know that the objective is to form what I call a Communication Bond with your interviewer.
So first of all, reverse the roles and consider how your own first impressions are affected by how someone else sits, walks and stands. Did you form impressions of their self confidence? Did you feel different about someone who slouches on the chair, versus someone who was sitting upright and leaning towards you? Posturing positively conveys many messages to someone else, without even having said a word yet.
Work on forming a communication bond with the interviewer. A communication bond is formed when you show that you are present, engaged and mindful of the interviewer. Posture accordingly by sitting upright and leaning forward slightly towards the interviewer - ready to listen and respond. I strongly advice the clients I coach to place their hands on the table. Just a simple move of placing your hands on the table, will automatically move your body slightly forward and upright.
In contrast, those who like to sit on their hands will slouch, and automatically look nervous. Sitting on the hands does also affect tone modulation and increases the chance of rocking back and forth out of nervousness.
In order to bond with anyone, you need to listen actively. By listening actively, you will automatically be inclined to use many non-verbal queues - you will start to mirror the interviewer, you are likely to have good eye contact, you nod or provide an affirmative action when you agree, you smile when something rings true to you, and you respond at the right times. All these are non-verbal cues that will help you during an interview.
How one bonds with someone else during such such a short time can come down to self awareness of your own personality and how to make adjustments to communicate well with other personalities. And as always, practice is key.