For most people, going for a job interview can be a daunting and nervous experience. Many potential applicants spend time and energy focusing on what to wear and preparing for potential interview questions. Now don’t get me wrong, these are important tasks, but they will not solely govern the outcome of your interview.

What will give you a competitive advantage is knowing how to communicate effectively. There are 3 key components of communication. Knowing what they are, the amount to which they influence the communication process and finally being able to communicate with an awareness of these 3 things will give you a significant advantage in the interview process.

What is communication?


Communication is all about:

  • Providing information
  • Processing information
  • Giving a message, comprehending a message and listening to a message
  • Sharing and responding
  • Effective listening and being present in the conversation
  • Gaining information
  • Having a purpose
  • Is effective if you get the outcome intended

But it’s also how we process the information that is being communicated to us and how we deliver our message that is crucial to effective communication. It’s not so much what you say but how you say it that will determine your success. And, it’s about your message being interpreted how you intended.

Effective Communication is made up of:


Physiology: 55%

Tonality (voice/how you say it): 38 %

Words: 7%

We process and interpret information in 3 ways – through physiology, tonality and words.

Physiology equates to 55% of communication

If you refer to the above figures, it is abundantly clear that physiology is a key facet of effective communication. It is not the only component, but it is the most influential component.

What is physiology?


The way we use our bodies influences people when we communicate. Physiology is all about how we present ourselves physically. It’s about our body language, gestures, eye contact, how we stand and/or sit and our facial expressions.

Key ingredients of physiology:

  • Body posture and movement
  • Leg position
  • The angle people rest their bodies
  • Repeated patterns of movement with hands and feet

Have you ever thought about what you are communicating about yourself in a non-verbal way? Are you being perceived as you intended or is there a mismatch between your message and the other person’s perception of the message?

Your physiology communicates much more than your words


Does your physiology resemble confidence, assertiveness and positivity? Or does it exhibit negativity, self-doubt and unprofessionalism?

The way you present yourself at interview is vital to interview success. Potential employers will be reading your physiology to make decisions as to whether you are the right fit for the job.

Knowing this means you can work on it when preparing for your interview. By learning and understanding how you stand, move, gesture and express yourself, you can work out what personal traits are helpful and what traits are not.

What is amazing is that we can all alter our physical states if we want or need to. It may take practice and you may need assistance, but we can appear confident, knowledgeable and as the best applicant for the job if we know how to. It’s all about your physiology. It is empowering to know that you can ‘act’ confident even if you are not on the inside by taking on a positive and confident stance or physiology.

Tonality equates to 38% of communication

The next most important facet of Effective Communication and interview success, according to the data percentages above, is tonality.

What is tonality?


Tonality is how you say it! It’s how you speak and express your words.

It incorporates:

  • Tempo
  • Volume
  • Pitch
  • Tone
  • Rhythm
  • Phrases

Tonality is another vital component to a successful interview and effective communication. Your audience will process what you are saying by your tonality. How you say your words and the way you use your voice gives the listener clues about what you are trying to say. If your tonality doesn’t match your content, then the message becomes hard to interpret and can be easily misinterpreted! So, how you speak and talk matters. All of the components of tonality matter. If you are answering a serious interview question in a high pitched, fast and loud voice, it may not be interpreted as you had intended.

Our voice and how we use our voice is a key ingredient to successful communication. It will be the difference between interview success and interview disappointment.

What is even more empowering is that if your tonality matches your physiology, then your communication will be even more successful.

Words equate to 7%

What do we need to know about words?


Amazingly, and this is usually a shock to most, words make up only 7% of communication.

That means it’s not what (the actual words you use) you say, it’s how you say it – tonality and physiology.

Of course, I would never say that the words you choose are not important, as they are, they are just not as influential in the message processing.

Words are made up of:

  • Possibility or pressure
  • Positive or negative
  • Empathetic or blunt
  • Descriptive or factual or expressive or emotive

The key to successful communication


Physiology + tonality + words = success

You need to include and take note of all 3 components of communication to positively influence the person listening to you. And understand how you present yourself and how you use your voice are the largest chunks to effective communication!

Lou Campbell

Career Consultant at The Career Consultant
Louise is a Career Consultant who specialises in working with professional women. She’s all about working with professional women on career growth, sustainability and change.
Lou Campbell
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