Interviews and other events when your speaking skills are under scrutiny can make you nervous. You can be well prepared, but if your speaking habits let you down, you may find the interviewer isn’t really listening to what you have to say. Practice a few simple techniques to ensure your message gets across.
Do maintain eye contact. This is important from the moment you enter the room. It keeps the interviewer engaged with what you have to say, and it projects confidence and interest.
Do smile. It makes you seem warm, and it changes the tone of your voice in a positive way.
Do listen. One of the fundamental keys to speaking well is knowing how to listen. Make sure you understand each question. Ask for it to be repeated or clarified if you do not. Look engaged as your interviewer is talking.
Do have answers prepared. Many interview questions are easy to predict. Have responses and examples prepared so that you can respond quickly and confidently without having to pause for thought.
Do have questions prepared. You will be asked if you want to ask anything about the position -- it’s essential to have a couple of well thought out questions in mind, as this makes you seem interested in the company and engaged in the interview process.
Don’t slouch or fold your arms. Be aware of your body language. Any kind of nervous tic such as tapping your foot will distract from what you are saying. Sit naturally, leaning forward slightly to signal your enthusiasm, and try not to scratch your nose or rub your eyes.
Don’t ramble. Answer the question with sufficient detail and with some examples from your work history, and then stop speaking. If you talk on and on you will seem nervous and you will bore the interviewer.
Don’t use bad grammar or pause words. Speak in complete sentences without using slang expressions. Try to keep the ums and ahs to a minimum. Speak slightly more slowly if you need thinking time.
Don’t mumble. Speak out clearly because you are confident that you have relevant points to make and that the interviewer will be interested to hear what you have to say.
Don’t rush. It’s OK to take time to think, and it’s best not to speak too quickly.