You can use your communication skills to move toward your goals or you can allow your lack of skills to hold you back. Whatever you do, your communication power contributes to the overall image others have of you when they meet you in person. Your communication skill is even more significant when you are being interviewed.
The Art of Communication
Paralanguage your vocal projection, vocal variety and the timing and the rate of your speaking, since it affects the image others have of you.
Voice Projects Competence
A savvy interviewer uses his or her voice to send images of confidence and competence. You simply must project your voice if you want to be perceived as credible. Certainly you want to project your voice so that the interviewer can easily hear you. Lack of vocal projection lowers you listener’s perception of your credibility, and low volume is perceived as a sign of weakness. Put more projection behind your voice and you will seem more influential. Your vocal projection, rightly nor not, communicates your level of competence. Therefore you need to work on increasing your voice’s projection and volume during every day encounters and eventually your increased projection will feel normal to you and you will carry it into interview without even having to think about it.
Vocal variety serves several purposes that are important in all your communication endeavours not just in interview settings. First, varied pitch patterns help keep your listener’s attention focused on your message and make it easier to understand. Second, good vocal variety helps you convey to the listener your conviction and enthusiasm. Third, the increase in dynamism actually enhances your credibility by making you appear to know what you are talking about.
Raising the pitch on the last word of your sentence or thought signifies you are asking questions. A falling pitch suggests a suspicious or hostile attitude. Pitch pattern can also negate what you are saying verbally. It is possible to verbalize “yes” or “sure” with a pitch pattern that indicates “no”. Make sure your pitch patterns match what you’re trying to say.
Control Pace of Speaking
Ideally, your speaking pace should be a comfortable one for your listener. Speak too fast and it is difficult for your listener to remain focused on your message. It is hard work to keep up with a person who talks too fast and after listening for a while the interviewer may take a “mental exit”. Speak too slowly and you risk aggravating the interviewer.
Strive for a comfortable pace when communicating with the interviewer. Vary your pace. You can slow down a bit to emphasize a point, and then pick back up to that comfortable listening rate. Varying your pace will help the interviewer stay focused on what you are saying, and a pace that is comfortable to listen to shows you are confident in your message.
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Silent Pauses Vs Non Fluencies
Silent pauses can strengthen your message, but vocalized pauses tend to weaken your message and your credibility. A vocalized pause or a filler is called a non-fluency. Non-fluencies occur when people use “uh”, “and ah”, “like” or “you know” to fill in the pauses in their speech. In fact, thought it is rarely a good idea to use vocalized pauses purposely, an occasional “ah” when answering an interviewer’s question may convey that you are thinking of your response as you speak, rather than having it planned out.
Non-fluencies become a problem when used with such frequency that they call attention to themselves and become a distraction. If you sprinkle your speech with too much non-fluency you probably already know it. If not, you can request feedback from friends or carry a tape recorder around for a few hours and record your conversations. You can learn to limit your use of vocalized pauses by becoming aware of the problem, then taking the necessary steps to correct it.
Silent pauses, on the other hand, are a good way to emphasize thought. They provide time for your words to sink in and break information into meaningful segments that are easier for your listener to comprehend. Silent pauses give you a chance to reflect upon your response, but when you fill those positive silent pauses with vocalized sounds it weakens your credibility and lowers the interviewer’s perception of your competence.
Diction and Pronunciation
Strive for clear diction and correct pronunciation with every word you utter. That will allow your message to be easily understood by the interviewer, convey your capacity to interact well with others and be perceived as credible and competent.
Diction is the production of sounds. It may be slovenly and lazy, or crisp and professional. Sloppy diction is when, for example, someone drops the “ing” sounds at the end of words, such as saying “goin” rather than “going”, or when one doesn’t clearly articulate words, such as saying “sip” rather than “ship”. Sloppy diction creates the impression on the part of the interviewer that the applicant is of lower education level and social standing. It lowers his credibility and competence level in the eyes of the interviewer.
Pronunciation is how you deliver words where the accent falls as well as the actual pronunciation of sounds. Some elements of pronunciation vary with geographic region and, although they may work to your advantage if you’re interviewing within your own region but if you are appearing for SSB interview your speech pattern may be distracting to the interviewer. The wrong pronunciation will make you appear less knowledgeable and less informed and may irritate your interviewer. Therefore make a habit of using clear diction and correct pronunciation in your day-to-day conversations and you will carry it automatically into interviews.
Put Them All Together
Project your voice in a confident manner as you speak. Vary your vocal pitch and try to achieve an enthusiastic manner of speech. Deliver your message with a pace that is comfortable for your listener. Pause, but make sure pauses are silent. Avoid sloppy speech and pronounce words clearly and correctly. These steps are the receipts for demonstrating your enthusiasm while conveying sincerity. Your dynamic delivery will make you appear confident and competent.
Thanks for a good article on communication.