The Art and Science of Communication Part One

We can all relate to the nervousness of the job interview. But interviewing is in other aspects of our lives as well. Consider the nurse that asks the background of your illness or injury to begin the case history, or the computer technician asking the customer what problems the computer seems to have. Friend to friend talks about what to do after work is also a form on interviewing. Interviews are asking questions to get answers. We will find ourselves in a some situations daily where we will be the interviewer and alternately interviewed. Example:Friend asking question as interviewer “Where are we going after work?” You answering as interviewed, “I don’t know” now you become interviewer, “Where do you think we should go?”

Interviews take place in a limited time frame so we must get our message across clearly. It is very important what we say as well as how we say it. The words we use, the tone of our voice, even the angle we hold our head communicates a message to the listener. How they perceive us and the success of the interview depends on our ability to account for and control all our language. It is not just the words that matter. Nonverbal communication is just as important and may even be more important than what we say verbally. First impressions are created by what we look like. Our clothing, the posture we have, eye contact, handshakes and facial expressions. Without saying a word someone already  made a judgement about us.

“ Is the individual successful? Is he educated? Is she moral? Is he trustworthy? We make assumptions about all these things based on nonverbal first impressions.” (Everyday Encounters, Woods,Sept, Duncan, 1998)

We tend to view others in groups of personality characteristics. This is called implicit personality theory and it means that if you have one personality characteristic it is assumed you have the others that go along with that one. For example A type personalities are considered aggressive so they must also be impatient, smart, and self starters. Women on average are considered understanding, so they must also be considerate, kind, and nurturing. These are only examples but the reader should be able to understand how one characteristic makes us think that the others are there as well. Impressions are made by assumptions about human behaviour, stereotypes, and past experiences.

In interviews this process of perception influences the entire interaction. How we approach an interview by thinking about how we want to be perceived by another is important. Impression management is very important. Impression management is a strategy designed to create a beneficial image of yourself. It is a conscious attempt to control communicative behaviours and cues for making the desired positive impression in social settings. The main factors of impression management are the perception others take away. Are you credible, have likability, interpersonal attractiveness, and dominance? When you walk into an interview and when you leave are the first impressions that were perceived the last impressions that you want remembered?

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