How to express yourself with confidence in an interview

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Confident communication skills help us to make and maintain good connections. They are essential for securing a job and vital traits once you are employed. Each year the gradireland Graduate Salary & Recruitment Trends Survey reveals communication to be one of the core areas of concern for employers when it comes to graduate recruits. In an interview situation, nerves and stress can be a factor, no matter whether it is your first interview or your fifth. But you have the capability to communicate confidently, you just need to know how to and when. To enhance your communication skills during an interview, EMPLOY the following tips;

  1. Eye contact. It is important to smile and to make eye contact with your interviewer/interviewers as you meet them and throughout the interview process. This creates a non-verbal connection between you and them, it inspires their trust in you and conveys your confidence and people skills.
  1. Modulate your voice. We can all develop the habit of speaking in the same tone. By modulating or changing our voice we keep people’s interest. It gives the impression that we are interested in and enthusiastic about what we have to say. People want to work with interested and interesting people. There are a number of skills you can use to achieve this variety. The first way is to raise the pitch (height and depth) of your voice when making a new point. Think of it like telling a story, some parts require more emphasis, and a different pitch, than others.
  1. P Don’t be afraid to pause before answering a question, or during an answer. It will give you a chance to gather your thoughts, take a breath if needed, stay or regain calm and allow your interviewer to absorb what you have said. By practising pause, pre-interview, it can help you to identify filler words to avoid, such as “Eh…. Um…. Like”, and filter them out of your vocabulary! Don’t worry about creating tumbleweed moments; a pause will feel much longer to you than to your listener. Pausing can stop panic in its tracks and communicates confidence and that you are comfortable with taking the time to think before responding.
  1. L Being an engaged listener is an essential communication skill. Taking the time to comprehend and be interested in what is being said ensures that you can take in what is being asked. Listening intently keeps you focused, calm and in the present, enabling you to think more clearly and to express yourself more effectively.
  1. Open Your Mouth. When you get nervous, your jaw becomes susceptible to tension, which means we may not open our mouth freely, resulting in our words sounding mumbled. Alleviate this tension by yawning, massaging the hinges of your jaw and stretching your face. Just make sure you do it pre-interview! Sometimes it’s just a matter of focus; remembering to loosen up and articulate yourself properly. As you practise for interviews, exaggerate your articulation by “over” opening your mouth. It may feel over the top, but this is just to get your speech moving and out of your mouth and it won’t sound or look nearly as strange as it might feel! An Open Posture is a confident posture. It features chin parallel with the floor, shoulders unraised and back, arms and legs uncrossed and top it off with a firm handshake. Before your interview, find a private space to practise a power posture by standing with your feet more than hip width apart and your hands on your hips, or raised in the air, creating a V shape.
  1. Your attire. Bare in mind, as you dress to impress, that you will express yourself best when you are comfortable. Have a dress rehearsal as you practise your interview to ensure that you can move, sit, breathe and speak easily. Every little helps in interview situations so give yourself the best possible chance.

Emma Coogan helps people to express themselves clearly, with confidence and charisma. She runs the Emma Coogan School of Speech and Drama. Visit her on Facebook or keep up to date with Emma on Twitter. For some videos on confidence techniques that work, have a look here .
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Read here for more practical interview advice and tips from gradireland

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