Body language

Why is body language so important?

When we communicate:

  • 7 % of the message comes from the words we use
  • 38 % comes from the tone we use
  • 55 % comes from our body language

In person your body language will always have an impact as to what your are communicating. Some experts even argue that even when communicating over the phone, your body language will have and impact on the person.


The handshake

A positive handshake will break the ice and will get the interview moving in the right direction.

How to execute the perfect handshake

As your approach your interviewer, make eye contact and be sure to give a smile showing some teeth. Meet head on facing them directly. This will promote openness, confidence and trustworthiness.

On your approach, extend your right hand. Continue to smile. The aim here is to connect with your interviewer the part of your hand between your thumb and forefinger. This part should interlock with the same part of your interviewers hand.

Your grip should be just right. Natural and friendly. Crushing grips can be seen as over powering or obnoxious. A limp grip can give an impression of disinterest. Your grip should be a comfortable pressure communicating confidence and ability.

Handshake blunders

Shaking the tips of the finger - May be perceived as a lack of self confidence.

Energetic arm pump - Can sometimes be perceived as insincere.

Extending your arm with your palm facing down - This may be be seen as disrespectful.


Eye contact

Not only does eye contact display confidence on your part, it also helps you understand what the other person is really saying verbally.

Looking someone in the eye as you meet and talk with him / her also shows you are paying attention. Listening is the most important human relations skill. Good eye contact plays a large part in conveying our interest in others.

When to look

Begin as soon as you start a conversation with someone. You may wish to begin even earlier if you are trying to get someone's attention. Be sure to maintain direct eye contact as you are saying good bye. It will help leave a positive and lasting impression.

How long to look for

Consider 70 - 80 % of the time. Long stares can be seen as being too direct and can make the other person feel uncomfortable. It's ok to glance down occasionally as long as your gaze returns quickly to the other person.



When you slouch, you look disinterested. Keep your head up, shoulders back, chest out. When seated, lean forward slightly from the hip. This will help make you look interested.


Arms / hands

During an interview never fold your arms above your head. This will signal to your interviewer that you may be bored during the interview. This type of action can also give an impression of layed back / at ease.

Gesturing / talking with your hands is natural. Keep in mind that getting carried away with hand gestures can also be distracting. Avoid touching your mouth when talking.



Your smile is a powerful way to show your interviewer that your a happy and positive person. Showing some teeth will also help on a sub conscious level.


Other signals

Arms crossed

Cautious, defensive reserved, uninterested in a conversation.

Tapping fingers

Agitated, anxious, bored, calculating.

Resting you palm on your chin

Critical, cynical and negativity towards the receiver.

Nose-rubbing or nose-touching when giving a verbal response

A sign of doubt, dishonesty.

Rubbing around ears when giving a verbal response

Performed while winging an answer, commonly associated with 'I don't know' type response.

Leaning forward

Interested, willingness to comprehend.

Rubbing the back of your head or neck

May suggest a disinterest in the conversation.

Staring blankly at the floor

May suggest a disinterest in the conversation.

Rapidly nodding your head

May display impatience / eagerness to add something to the conversation.

Slowly nodding

Shows a positive interest / comprehension / validation.

Rubbing your collar


Biting your fingernails