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Non-Verbal Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

July 14, 2016
byLaura Van Eperen inPublic Relations
Non-Verbal Mistakes

When it comes to being interviewed by the press, the main goal for a spokesperson or representative is to always get key messaging across to the audience. But did you know that sometimes your actions can speak louder than your words?

Whether you’re being interviewed on camera or sitting down for a one-on-one interview with a reporter, be sure to avoid the following non-verbal mistakes that are commonly made.

Eye Contact 

Like the fairytale story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” eye contact has to be just right. Poor eye contact with your interviewer can signify you’re not tuned in to the issue at hand and too much can make your interviewer uncomfortable. Keep eye contact relaxed and casual, not creepy.


Tapping a foot, shaking a leg, cracking your knuckles, playing with your hair, and adjusting your clothes can all signify nervous energy. Not to mention the fact that they can be distracting and annoying to the reporter. Take a deep breath, relax your body and just be natural with any movements you make.

Facial Expressions

Some will tell you not to show emotion in an interview. Wrong! Emotions are what make us human. So to avoid looking like a robot, be sure to smile or even laugh when it’s appropriate. It’s totally okay to show a little personality.


Simple things like crossing your arms can make it seem like you’re angry or closed off to what the reporter is talking about in the interview. Try to keep your hands in your lap and sit up as straight as possible while still being comfortable. Also, slightly lean in toward the reporter to show that you’re engaged in the conversation.


When being interviewed, especially on camera, it’s important to reflect your company’s culture. For example, a creative executive from an advertising firm might wear dark jeans with a blazer. As for a lawyer, he/she might feel more comfortable in a suit. What’s most important is that you feel comfortable and confident in the clothes you are wearing which will come across tenfold to audiences and the reporter.

Keep these tips in mind when sitting down for an interview with the media, but be sure not to over-analyze. It’s important to be more focused on the conversation. If you’re being recorded, it’s always good to review how you did afterward, so you can make adjustments to your non-verbal cues in the future. Practice makes perfect!

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