Recently, I was offering some tips on job interviews. I reflected on some of the mistakes candidates make. And there was one that most people overlook. It is not about how you dress or how unprepared you are for the interview questions. But this mistake can cost you not only your first impression, but what I would call the ‘likeability’ factor. Yes, even for the nicest people.
So what is it? It is projecting low energy.
It is lack of energy in your body language, eye contact, and in your tone. These things convey a lack of enthusiasm. Your demeanor screams “I am not interested in being here and would rather not speak to you if I don’t have to”. Even if that is not how you feel at all!
In most cases, you may be unaware that you are giving off this kind of vibe. In fact, you might think you were being reserved or even respectful by being subdued. The truth is low energy makes your audience dread every minute they have to spend with you.
When you find yourself with the opportunity of creating a first impression, ask yourself what kind of energy you are projecting.
Four things you should check, even before they greet you :
- Are you smiling confidently?
- How is your posture?
- Are you making eye contact?
- How is your tone of voice? Do you sound like you are reading a textbook or do you sound excited to be there?
If you need to raise your energy level ahead of time, try listening to music that pumps you up, read a passage or look at pictures that get you motivated. Try standing instead of sitting while you wait for the event or interview to start.
Don’t let this mistake jeopardize an important interview or opportunity to leave a great first impression.