WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (UPI) — Pointing fingers, interrupting and smirking are ill-advised at work, so there is much to learn from political candidates’ body language, a U.S. expert says.
Melvin Scales, executive coach and Wake Forest University Schools of Business assistant director of student career services, said regardless of political affiliation, debates are a one-stop shop for observing what body language and speech styles reflect the best impression.
“Given that we only have 7 seconds to make a good first impression, it’s important to make every second count and 75 percent of that impression comes from body language such as strong eye contact, a slight smile and a firm handshake,” Scales said in a statement. “Pleasant conversation accounts for the other 25 percent.”
Scales coaches students to control their body language using a technique he calls “head, shoulders, knees and toes:”
— Keep eyes focused on the interviewer without staring. Blink, don’t wink.
— Smile now and then to assure the interviewer that you understand what is being asked, as well as during your responses. This generates confidence.
— Don’t look up or from side to side when responding to a question. Averting your gaze makes you seem less certain, trustworthy and truthful.
— Keep back straight, head up and with arms at the side.
— Minimize the use of hands.
— To make an emphatic point, lean slightly toward the interviewer without invading his or her space, which is about 3 feet.