When in an interview (or in any situation where you wish to portray strength) body language or non-verbal communication is critical to how you will be seen and judged by the panel or person you are talking with.
It’s important then to spend some of your preparation time thinking about how you can improve this aspect of your behaviour and hence improve your chance of success.
One method that is used by councillors and coaches to help with this is the SOLER* method. This is a simple yest very effective way that will help you alter your behaviour and gives the board much more confidence in you, as they believe that you are truly listening to them and engaged with them.
Remember, as we have discussed before – you need to employ every method possible to positively influence the board. Marginal gains matter.
So here is the method:
S – Square
Sit square on (at right angles) to the panel whenever possible and keep an adequate distance between them and yourself.
O – Open
Don’t cross your arms as this can look very defensive.
L – Lean In
Try leaning in occasionally as you speak to close the space between you and them. This helps break down barriers and makes you look interested in what they are saying.
E – Eye Contact
Having good eye contact is key. Make sure that you focus your attention on the person who is speaking to you – but don’t stare them out! It’s fine to drop your gaze now and then but reconnect with them often.
R – Relax
Easier said than done in an interview or board, but the more relaxed you are the calmer and more confident you will appear. Give yourself the permission to breath and drop those shoulders.
Practise this method as part of your preparation. It’s relatively easy to master but has a huge effect as it shows that you are willing to listen, makes it easier for the board to believe you are ‘actively’ listening and thus helps reassure them.
* – I know the sun is SOLAR – but I could find a more appropriate image 😂