by Murali Murthy
Best-Selling Author, Motivational Speaker, Transformational Coach
Visit: Murali’s Success Den
4 Ways to Ace Every Interview with Excellent Communication Skills
This should be easy. Think of the one skill every Canadian employer specifies in the job description irrespective of the industry sector or position. You guessed it right.
Excellent communication skills is one of the most sought after attribute desired by recruiters and also essential for you to achieve career success in Canada.
Remember, good communication encompasses the whole package the spoken word, the written word, the non-verbal cues through body language and the way you dress, among many other things. Here are a few key tips in all four primary areas to express yourself with clarity and confidence and transform your communication style into a powerful personality trait.
1. The Spoken Word
Be it face-to-face or over the phone, messages delivered in easy-to-comprehend short sentences, in a clear and articulate manner, with a strong, powerful voice, go a long way in exuding self-confidence even when you may not feel that way.
- Speak powerfully. People with strong, dynamic voices are perceived as having more self-confidence, so make sure you talk with power in person or over the phone.
- Modulate your speech delivery, breathe regularly and if needed slow down your rate of speech. This will add impact to the words spoken and improve overall speech quality.
- Take ownership of your ideas and deliver them with the importance they deserve. When you speak with determination, it shows you are in control of what you are saying, and influences the listener to process what you are saying.
- Eliminate filler sounds, words and phrases like um, uh, like, right?, well, maybe, you know, I mean. These contain no real meaning, but are often used to keep the speech flowing. Be conscious of how many times you use them and reduce them slowly.
2. The Written Word
Making an impact with the written word takes more than just filling your cover letter, resume and emails with keywords. With clarity, cohesiveness and control you can break through the clutter, get your message across and drive recruiters to the action you desire.
- Write in a dynamic active voice instead of a weaker passive voice. Here are some examples to illustrate the point:
I handled the position vs. The position was handled by me.
I managed accounts vs. My job was to manage accounts.
- Highlight key points and prioritize important sections in sequence.
- Combine short and long sentences effectively. Use short sentences to highlight strengths and longer sentences for the descriptions.
- Keep in mind that recruiters and employers are pressed for time, so you need to draw clear lines connecting the dots.
- Use crisp topic titles to make your point clear in each paragraph. Do not leave anything implied.
- Add conjunctions like for, and, but, hence, however, to connect the logic between your statements and to make the message clear.
- Spell-check the document for language and grammar and be sure to proofread several times before sending out the document.
- Structure your written piece in a manner that aligns all the elements towards a clear path and communication goal.
- Lead every word, bullet point and sentence to a call to action.
- Ensure that the reader not only understands you but is more likely to be persuaded by the information.
3. Non-Verbal Cues
There is enough research to prove that in face-to-face communications, the words we speak actually account for less than 10% of the message that we convey, while non-verbal cues account for almost 90% of our message. As you start working on your communication skills, its important to recognize, though, that its our facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture and tone of voice that speak the loudest.
Your body language must reflect your positivity and confidence from the first hello right till the departing hand shake with the interviewer.
- Smile first and then smile often, its the best defense against nervousness.
- Maintain eye contact at all times to convey confidence.
- Modulate your tone and speaking style, practice your pitch and pace at home often.
- Be natural with facial expressions avoid nervous gestures and stay calm, composed and pleasant at all times.
- Demonstrate energy by keeping an upright posture and make sure you dont slump, slouch or shrug.
4. Dress to Impress
First impressions last. This means that the moment you walk in through the door, the impression formed in the first four seconds determine whether youre hired.
The way you dress for an interview portrays how precise and professional you really are. If you wish to dress to impress and be hired for the job of your dreams here are five tips to help you on your way.
- Dress safe, be formal: Look up the company culture to be sure and just to be safe, dress formal. Make sure you strictly stay off jeans, denims, hats, flashy jewelry and bodily piercings.
Suggestions for ladies: Professional suits, suits with skirts, tights, conservative shoes.
Suggestions for men: Dark-colored suits, long-sleeved preferably white or off-white shirts with tie, formal polished shoes.
- Walk in with a clean face: The first things your potential employers notice are your face and hair, so make sure you tidy them both and you look professional, approachable, and fresh.
- Watch out for bodily distractions: Avoid bodily distractions like excessive perfumes and fragrances, body odours, tattoos and indulgent piercings, no matter how casual the work environment is. And lastly, do a personal hygiene self-check to be safe and sure.
The ability to understand and properly use formal and informal means of communication is vital to connect with others and gain their trust.
Follow these simple steps and you will soon speak powerfully, write with clarity, walk into the next interview in the perfect outfit and exude the confidence necessary to ace the interview and land the job!