OPINION: Body language affects your success

As Manual students try to get part-time jobs and apply to colleges, they should be aware that body language might be the most important factor during the interview process.

In a competitive world, people try their hardest to stand out from the competition. “Be prepared” and “dress for success” are common suggestions people make, however, body language is more important.

While dressing for success and being prepared are examples of the more obvious tips, for body language, you can also tell a lot about a person and their interests just by the way they present themselves. According to Patryk Wezowski, Founder of the Center for Body Language, the first impression is made through body language. From crossing your arms and legs to tapping your feet, it conveys a clear message. According to Changing Minds, a leader in books about discipline, crossing your arms and legs can show aggression. Tapping your feet or legs shows uninterest. Slumping your shoulders too far over shows nervousness. The organization will probably look for someone better aligned with the picture they have in their head of the “perfect applicant.”

Body language shows confidence

When you meet someone for the first time, your handshake can show nervousness or confidence. You should also pay attention to any nervous gestures you might have. Common nervous gestures are playing with your hair, biting your fingernails and decreased eye contact. These could impact your first impression. If an employer or college thinks that you lack confidence, he or she may not pick you, according to Robert Ordana of Monster Jobs.

Body language shows emotion

A smile can affect your first impression. According to Danielle Cearbaugh of Little Things Matter, 72 percent of people think those who smile frequently are more confident and successful. Cearbaugh, as an employer, has noticed herself turning people down simply because their lack of a smile made her doubt they would be a good fit for her workplace. You can make or break your first impression due to the emotion of body language. According to Alton Barbour, author of Louder Than Words, 55 percent of all communication is nonverbal, and a large majority is in facial expressions.

For example, Melania Trump, First Lady of the United States, met with Prince Harry of Wales on Sept. 23, 2017. A viral photo surfaced showing Prince Harry with his hand partially placed in his suit jacket. According to Jamie Feldman in a Huffington Post article, experts saw the move as an indication of discomfort. Prince Harry holds his stomach, which could be a result of tension and a feeling that he should “protect his central core.” Patti Wood, body language expert and award-winning author, debunked the myth circulating on social media that Prince Harry was “holding up devil horns,” although Wood agreed the hand position could be interpreted as a sign of aggression.

First Lady Melania Trump meets with Prince Harry of Wales in Toronto. Prince Harry is holding his hand partially in his suit jacket while posing for a photo. “Invictus Games 2017 09 21” by Chris Jackson on Getty Images is licensed under CC BY 2.0. No changes have been made to the original photo. The photographer does not necessarily endorse the article this picture is apart of.

Body language helps improve your chances of employment or acceptance

In order to improve confidence, you should have a firm handshake with eye contact. Lose the nerves and pay close attention to your body language.

Body language can also help you interpret how your employer or college thinks about you in the moment. By examining the other person, you can tell by looking at their facial expressions or even the way they are sitting. Most people do this already and do not know it. If you learn to pay even more attention, you can become aware of how to get the best possible interview.

Some applicants may say that people do not typically look for and pay attention to body language, but research from Duke University shows that most people do. Even those who do not consciously look for body language notice it subtly.

The competition for employment and acceptance to college is fierce and you can easily strengthen your chances. Simply be aware of you and your interviewer. Remember to smile, watch for nervous ticks, interpret facial expressions and, most importantly, be confident.