Executive Rewind: Your Body is a Message Selling Machine

More than 90 per cent of what you communicate is non-verbal. If your body language disagrees with what you’re saying, your words are fairly worthless.

Social psychologist Amy Cuddy is an expert on body language:

Texas Instruments CEO Richard Templeton is an electrical engineer by training. Doing TV interviews probably doesn’t come naturally to him. Especially when he has to relate to a camera:

While he said “it’s good to be here,” did he really seem to mean it? He looked apprehensive and uncomfortable.

Templeton’s obvious discomfort is an example of just how important rehearsing with a camera is before any news interview.

Now look at this CNBC interview with Stephen Elop, the CEO of Nokia at the time. He was on the West Coast and had to handle a long, tough question from the network anchor back in the East Coast studio:

That question was 37 seconds long. It was brutal, yet, Elop listened patiently and with no apparent non-verbal emotional reaction. And then he responded with a very measured and positive answer.

Interviews face-to-face offer even greater opportunities to use your body to sell messages.

Asked about the future of plant-based foods, Gingko Bioworks CEO Jason Kelly, like an orchestra conductor, emphasized every word and statement making his answer more emphatic and believable:

Leaning in to an interviewer also demonstrates proactive engagement and helps you make messages memorable long after the interview. Former Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent did this quite effectively:

Whether face-to-face with the interviewer, or on a remote location talking to a camera lens, or even on the telephone when body language is communicated by your level of enthusiasm and inflection, those non-verbal cues can assist or work against you.

It’s difficult to over-emphasize the importance of your body langauge. We all pick up signals virtually instantly from others, based on what they are “telling” us non-verbally. And, just like first impressions, body language leaves lasting impressions.

This is one of the most important things you need to address in preparing for all types of news interviews.


In today’s world of instant global communication
“Anyone who talks about you…or your business…is media!”
The Media Trainers®, LLC

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