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Having good interpersonal communication skills is important both within the workplace and while networking. There are several elements of interpersonal communication. Nonverbal is one of the most important when used in the correct way. Not only can nonverbal communication enhance understanding, but it can also act as a gauge between two parties to create an expectation of how the other will react. Nonverbal communication is guided by culture, so it may vary in countries outside of the United State. These nonverbal codes can help you become an overall better networker and communicator.
Kinesics is the use of physical body movements to communicate, such as facial expressions, eye contact, gestures and posture. If you have ever watched prominent leaders such as Speaker Ryan or President Reagan, I’m sure you have noticed the way in which they purposely move their bodies. This is known as gesticulation. If it is used correctly, it can be a very important communication tool when speaking publicly to make you appear more knowledgeable and graceful. To help you move with more purpose, practice ahead of time for interviews and presentations. If you are using a slide show or note cards with talking points, give yourself small cues that will help you remember to gesture. Small gestures are the most effective and look the most unintentional and fluid.
Vocalics and chronemics
Two vital nonverbal communication skills, vocalics and chronemics, can come in handy while interviewing for jobs. Vocalics represent the volume, pitch and speed rate of your voice. In this case, silence can also be used as an indication of power. Keeping a consistent rate of speech and tone while interviewing and networking can convey confidence and leadership. Chronemics is a term that describes the use of time. You should arrive ten to fifteen minutes prior to interviews, meetings or appointments to convey the responsibility of punctuality, says Business Insider. “The way you handle yourself during the first few minutes with a stranger tells the interviewer a great deal about your interpersonal communications and people skills” say Charles Stewart and William Cash Jr., authors of Interviewing: Principles and Practices.
Proxemics is the amount of space that people feel it necessary to set between themselves and others. President Lyndon B. Johnson was a pro at using proxemics. So much so that The Johnson Treatment was coined after him. Johnson used personal space, or lack thereof, as a strategy to get what he wanted while in office. While we may not all agree with his political platform, this technique, while a bit frightening, was beneficial from a leadership perspective, as he used it to assert his dominance in a high political position.
Appearance is a vital nonverbal skill in the workforce that can be used while networking and interviewing. It is important because whether we like it or not. Appearance is the first thing we analyze to make inferences about others. It is true that if you look good, you will interview well. Professional clothing not only boosts your confidence, it also shows your potential employers that you mean business. Always wear neutral colors, such as tan, black, grey and white to interviews and networking events. “Neatness costs nothing and pays dividends” say Stewart and Cash, in their book, Interviewing: Principles and Practices.