How to improve your communication skills for interview

By Zayd Ibn Isah
There is no gainsaying the fact that, effective communication is one of the potent tools for human growth and development in the society. Great leaders like Winston Churchill and Bill Clinton were famous not only for their great leadership qualities but for their oratorical prowess. They held their audience spellbound whenever they stand on the podium to speak. James Humes, a former presidential speechwriter, said ‘’The art of communication is the language of leadership’’. With great communication, a leader has the capacity to influence decisions, change his or her followers’ perceptions about his or her style of governance and calm frayed nerves in dire situations.

Not many people have the ability to communicate effectively, especially when under pressure. Our society is replete with men and women who have missed out on life-changing job opportunities as a result of their inability to communicate effectively.

It is one thing to dress very well, smell nicely with expensive perfume/cologne to a job interview and another thing to have the gift of the gab. Though first impression matter, but effective communication will give you an edge over your co-interviewees. Everybody can appear neat with fake smile to a job interview, but few have the ability to communicate effectively. You may dress shabbily to an interview [not advisable though] and still land your dream job with effective communication. But, you will be admired/complimented for dressing well and smelling nice, and not get your dream job in the end for lack of effective communication skills.

Potential jobseekers have been advised to improve their communication skills for job interviews to increase their chances of getting employed. There are several ways to improve your communication skills to get your dream job. One of them, is extensive reading. Read articles. Fiction and non-fiction books every day, write down strange words you come across in the course of reading and check them up in the dictionary. Try to use these words in your day-to-day conversations with people. It’s just a matter of time before you master them. Sometimes, you may not understand what you are reading. The storyline might seem uninteresting, don’t lose interest in the book, keep at it, you are increasing your vocabulary by so doing.

Another way to improve your communication skills for interview is to have self-confidence. You have to believe in yourself. Don’t entertain fear. Fear is one of your greatest enemies on your way to landing your dream job. Speak confidently and not-to-so slowly. Be bold, but don’t appear larger than life so that your employers/interviewers will not feel intimidated.

Self-examine yourself. You can improve your communication skills for interview by self-examining yourself. Stand in front of a mirror in your room and speak for some minutes. This helps to boost your confidence.

Make eye contact whenever you are communicating. Body language is part of communication. It involves facial expression, tone of voice and a host of nonverbal cues. It is not advisable you avoid eye contact with the interviewer like a shy lady in front of her suitor. Not only that, but it is important you make eye contact with him or her if you want the interviewer or any other person you meet to take you serious. People may not enjoy your company because of your inability to look them in the eyes while communicating. It makes you look nervous and that will send a wrong signal to them.

Engage in meaningful conversations. Discuss sociocultural and political issues with your friends. Don’t swallow whatever they say hook line and sinker. Beg to differ, but don’t be dogmatic. You can disagree with your interviewer without being condescending. Present your opposing views in an interesting and friendly way.

Be an effective listener. Listen attentively to the interviewer or any other person you are having conversation with. A good listener is a good communicator, they said. When you listen attentively, you will learn how to pick your words and not speak out of context.

Speak first. Introducing yourself to people first is one of the effective ways to improve your communication skills. When you meet people, whether they are your friends or strangers, talk to them first. Instigate conversations, ask them questions. But, don’t ask questions that will unnerve them. And if they feel offended by your questions, tender your unreserved apologies. Don’t defer to others to force you to speak. The more you do, the harder it is to speak later.
Be friendly and true to yourself. Always wear a smiling face when you meet people. William Arthur Ward said, ‘’a warm smile is the universal language of kindness’’. Learn to speak the universal language of kindness often for effective communication skills.

The power of effective communication cannot be overemphasized. It opens windows of opportunities. Your communication skills will stand you in good stead when you are going for interview. Therefore, jobseekers should hone their communication skills by using the above tips to avoid stories that touch during job interview.

Zayd Ibn Isah writes from Abuja. He can be reached via isahzayd@gmail.com

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