Career Watch: In job interviews, be aware of what your body is saying

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Q&A: Christine Jahnke

The president of Positive Communications Media & Speaker Training and author of The Well-Spoken Woman says body language is important in public speaking and job interviews.

Let's say I've prepared a presentation for a large group of colleagues. I've mastered the material and run it by a few people to make sure it's on the mark. I'm reminding myself of some old advice: Smile and make eye contact. What am I forgetting? Slouched posture can telegraph uncertainty or submissiveness. Take ownership of any room with the "champion stance." Whether speaking before staff members, at a board meeting or at an industry conference, you will look and sound better with good posture. A relaxed yet commanding posture helps you project confidence.

The champion stance is easy to do. Start by placing one foot in front of the other. Then, stand up straight with body weight resting on the back leg. Avoid positioning feet shoulder-width apart, which locks the knees in place. Next, drop your shoulders back and lift your chin slightly. Don't stick your chest out. The shoulder drop is the secret to carrying yourself like a world champion.

Things like making presentations and being interviewed for a job are stressful for many people. How can a person manage to incorporate your advice on physical presence without coming off as a stiff automaton? Nervous anxiety or self-doubt can trigger "speech mode." The telltale signs of speech mode are weak eye contact, a ramrod-straight body and a rapid speaking pace. Additionally, some presenters develop tunnel vision as they clamp down on the sides of the lectern. The only movement is limited to neck turns and eye darts. Presenters caught in the grip of speech mode are suffering physically and emotionally.

Upper body movement and hand gestures relax the body language, are interactive and convey enthusiasm. When standing before an audience, turn to face the individual you are talking to. Don't just turn your neck; rather, look at the person by turning from the waist. Use a hand gesture to hand off a thought. Gestures can underscore central points and are a great way to externalize excess energy or anxiety. Keep the gestures round and smooth. Avoid harsh karate-chop jerks or flipping the wrists.

— Jamie Eckle

An Organization for Mobile App Developers

A new professional organization for mobile application developers, the Application Developers Alliance, was launched earlier this month and then promoted at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The ADA currently has a couple dozen corporate members, which are subsidizing the 600 or so independent developers who have signed up and currently pay no fees.

Jon Potter, former executive director of the Digital Media Association, is leading the new group. He told InfoWorld that the alliance's key services include the following:

• A collaboration network, via an online database.

• Product-testing facilities offering access to multiple platforms and tools.

• Discounted and free tutorials on trends and technologies, as well as structured training and certification programs.

• Discounted hosting and cloud services via Rackspace.

Lobbying for government policies to help developers is also expected to be part of the initiative. "There's developer interest in privacy [policies]," as well as in intellectual property policies pertaining to patents and copyrights, Potter said. The alliance will also address mobile broadband policy.

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