NON VERBAL COMMUNICATION (BODY LANGUAGE)

NON VERBAL COMMUNICATION (BODY LANGUAGE)


Before you do anything about becoming an airline cabin crew, recognize that the first secret of any human interaction is that first impressions count. First impression is the best impression you can give in any airline interview. It is a consistently proven fact that a person’s impression of you is made within seconds and that impression quickly becomes their belief. And rightly or wrongly, once made it is extremely difficult to change their new found belief of you. In fact many would say impossible during the time constraint of a cabin crew interview. It is critical that any impression you make is the one that you want to make, but be critically sure that your first impression is perfect. You will be judged by the way you dress, your educational qualification, work experience, body language, manners, and ability to absorb the information and interpret it intelligently and clearly.

Most people have the impression that by having good looks (though it is a plus), you will get the job. Well I can tell you how wrong you are. If you have that mindset only, you may definitely fail. When airlines recruit, they are looking for someone who can embrace and propel the corporate image of their airline. So, you need to be well-rounded especially your communication skills, your grooming, how well you work in a team and your passion towards flying. Further to your grooming is presentation. This includes how you carry your self, interact and even socialize with others. There is no excuse for less than immaculate grooming and perfect presentation.

Certainly cabin crew are individuals, but many identifiable traits of a typical cabin crew  can be identified. All applicants will be positively cheerful and sport a happy disposition. They will also understand impeccable grooming and professional personal presentation. However for the most part, the successful cabin crew will possess the values and required communication standards of the interviewing airline and this can be markedly different between the airlines. They maybe focused on first class VIP, relaxed business or holiday passengers, however in order to achieve it's identifiable corporate image and brand, the airline interview process for cabin crew must identify and adhere to a matrix of values and guidelines upon which they can achieve consistency of a standard amongst their selected cabin crew.

 

What are the target areas of interest to an airline?

a.     Energy

Consistently maintains a high productivity level over periods of long duration, irregular hours or unnatural biorhythmic times. A cabin crew must effectively work at altitudes that place increased demands on their physical capacity to perform required duties. This is accentuated by irregular sleep patterns, differing time zones, periods of heavy work load through meal times and very often under time constraints and the need to meet passenger requirements.

b.     Initiative

Self starter knows when things need doing and doesn’t have to be told is acutely aware and proactive to achieve the required outcome. A cabin crew works in an ever changing environment that dictates improvements are made to meet with various operational, service and safety demands and are given opportunities to take appropriate action to suggest new ideas and strategies.

c.     Job fitness

Free of physical and mental limitations for required job performance. A cabin crew assists passengers with carrying baggage, stowage in overhead lockers, walking support for the elderly in the aisle and toilets, and stowage of their own overnight baggage.

d.    Teamwork

Partakes in activity geared towards a team outcome is responsible for own actions and is aware, considerate and empathetic for the feelings and needs of others. These are essentials onboard in everyday practice and most certainly during any difficult situation or emergency.  We are a team and that team can change every day, so you need to be able to work well with strangers you have never met before and all be working towards the same goal. A cabin crew is naturally a people person and can quickly blend to form a productive and congenial environment with people that they may or may not know. They divorce limiting personal emotions and influences like tiredness from their working environment and set and encourage great working relationships with crews to continually provide “an excellence of customer service” congenial with the crew.

e.    Ability to learn.

Can grasp new concepts with relative ease and apply where necessary in a timely manner. A cabin crew must be proficient at general learning tasks, be confident and competent at performing new procedures and flight requirements as needed.

f.    Motivational fit.

The degree to which the job description and role, and the company’s ethos and operational procedures combine to make the work environment personally satisfying and the actual work enjoyable. A successful cabin crew naturally enjoys meeting customers’ needs at all times. They enjoy contributing and working in a team environment and can maintain their professionalism when they are tired or under pressure.

h.   Work standards.

Sets high standards for personal performance, presentation and customer service that are consistent of excellence and achievable, self critical of performance, leads by example and is encouraging of others to achieve their best. The cabin crew must readily identify themselves in such a role with loyalty to the company in providing the service standard of both the company and the customers that they serve.

i.    Communication.

It is about conveying ideas in a way that is understood by the recipient, whether in groups or as individuals. This can involve speech, body language, writing and characteristics or mannerisms, and terminology to meet with your audience. A cabin crew has to communicate with speakers in english and non english speaking capabilities, with people having a hearing disability or with some limiting capacity to their communication process, as well as with people in all age groups. They may be required to use the public address system or effective non verbal language to explain inflight procedures and information to customers who find english difficult to understand. They must handle this situation with understanding and be clear and logical in their translation.

j.    Time management.

Achieves expected outcomes in a timely and economical manner by identifying priorities, setting realistic goals and having the flexibility to change due to  circumstances. A cabin crew must possess a natural consciousness of duty time and timing. Punctuality is a priority and duties need to be prioritized in order to maintain scheduling, safety requirements and service standards. Flexibility to adjust to the many variables of both the work environment and industry in a professional and timely manner is paramount.

k.   Tolerance for stress.

Stress in varying forms and degrees are common in the role of a cabin crew. Demands from the public are constant and scheduling is paramount in the aviation industry. Maintaining expected performance under pressure and handling or dissipating stress in a manner that is acceptable to all concerned is most important. A cabin crew meets with potentially stressful situations such as flight delays, interruptions to their routine and tight scheduling that places pressure on their work responsibilities and the need to remain composed and professional in a medical or flight emergency.

l.    Customer orientation.

We have to know that you can problem solve and know how to listen to a passenger, deal with enquiries positively, offers and delivers an expected excellence of service to company staff and customers at all times. Look after your passengers on a daily basis, the best you can excellent service and a smile can make or break someone’s day. This also reflects on the airline and how passengers see them and return for future business (or not). A cabin crew has to meet the needs of internal and external customers. They have to use their initiative and should anticipate needs of customers without the customer having to ask first.

m.  Following procedures.

      The successful cabin crew follows the procedures for which they are trained.

n.   Job related knowledge.

A cabin crew keeps up to date with the required knowledge in all areas.

o.   Situation analysis or judgment.

Having the ability to plan a course of action and then if necessary, use common sense, working knowledge and people skills to change that action for a better alternative with due consideration to resources, operational constraints and organisational values. Flexibility and creativity together with company policy, procedural guidelines and in-flight safety have to be exercised when providing the expected customer service. Identifying a situation requires good interpersonal skills with operational knowledge and common sense to resolve a problem.

 

p.   Professionalism

Communicate with your colleagues, always have a smile and work as a team, this can change a whole day onboard. Understand your role, go the extra mile and never stop learning from each other. Be discreet when you need to be and don’t intentionally put another person down.

q.   Responsibility

You take responsibility for your own actions and work on your initiative and admit it, if you made a mistake. You must cope well under stress and extreme pressure as this is something you will face almost on a daily basis. You need to be of a certain strength of character too, to be able to deal with emergency situations and deal with all the scenarios on your training course, which will prepare you for every eventuality.

 

Understand that you will be observed at all times, even before and after your interviews. While this can possibly be nerve racking for some, it will be the questions that you are given during your interview that will probably most challenge you. The way you speak, how you interact with others and how you carry yourself. Don’t be over confident as that can leave the impression that you are being arrogant. Be friendly, polite and courteous to both your recruiters and fellow applicants. Get to know the people around you, make contact and stay polite. They will be the only people you’ll see for the next three days if you’re successfull in every stage and possibly some of them will become your colleagues. Most airlines want their cabin crew to be friendly, helpful and smiley. So make sure you appear happy and smiley at all times to everyone that you meet. Whenever you are in the vicinity of the airline’s territory, you will want to be watchful of your surroundings. Whether you are in the waiting area, at the front desk or in the restroom it is a good bet that employees, who have been enlisted to become internal spies for the recruitment team, are observing you. The most obvious, yet often overlooked, internal spy is that of the humble receptionist. As the first and last point of contact, these powerful gatekeepers are in a prime position to observe applicants in all circumstances and from every angle. In putting on the friendly receptionist routine they are able to engage applicants in friendly dialogue, gathering information that can then be fed back to the recruitment team. Taking on a different approach, such as being rude or ignoring your presence, they will be able to entice and observe a different reaction entirely: A reaction that would otherwise not be accessible. And what about the seemingly harmless cleaning staffin the restroom ? Could they also be used for such purposes ? Absolutely, in fact, it is within the socalled privacy of the restroom that candidates often vent their frustrations or bare their souls. So it is important to always be mindful of your interaction with anyone you come into contact with, even your fellow applicants. As we venture into the section entitled “Undercover Ops”, we will explore this aspect much further. ‘We can pick up a smile from 30 meters away’ says Paul Ekman, professor of psychology at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco and a pioneer of research on facial expressions, ‘A smile lets us know that we’re likely to get a positive reception and it’s hard not to reciprocate.’ Smile and the world smiles too.

Greet the recruiters as soon as you enter and say 'please and thank you' whenever. Always be polite and friendly required, for example to greet the recruiter by her name and ask "How are you?".  It shows off your friendly side and that you have a good memory and are observant. It's very important to be friendly as a cabin crew and that's what the recruiters are looking for.

Remember, when you go to an airline interview, it’s not about how you sell yourself and compete with other applicants. Therefore how you present yourself and how you answer the questions thrown to you are extremely important to make yourself stand out. You don’t want to say things which the recruiters keep hearing over and over again. The only way to answer and speak well is through preparation. One extra point to note that it’s not how many questions that you can answer correctly but it’s the way you answer it.

Some applicants said that it’s not fair as during the interview there are current and ex crew who have the edge and experience. But there are some of them did not have any airline experience who got hired. Becoming an airline crew is as much about attitude as experience. In fact, many airlines will advertise cabin crew jobs that do not need previous experience. If you have good customer service experience, then make sure this is clear in your resume. But otherwise, a positive attitude, energy and friendliness will get you a long way, experience is not crucial.

Your knowledge of the airline and enthusiasm for the cabin crew position will also be front and center to some of the questions that you will be expected to answer. Before attending any interview, it is always an advantage to do your research on the company you are applying for so you will know what their latest development is and it also shows the recruiters that you take the initiative for the job and really do want to work with them. You can also visit their website and write down facts about their company policies, company history, company slogan, customer care and relations, the type of service and product they offer, the role of a cabin crew member with this particular airline, the airline’s major competitors, what aircraft they use, their destinations, how long have they been operating , their achievements and future goals, working environment, association with other companies (sponsorships), testimonial some of the existing cabin crew, talking about working for the airline and living in the base country, and many others.  If you haven’t got easy access to the internet, use more traditional methods such as visit a business library to esearch the role by reading books related to the cabin crew position and understand the company's mission, vision, and latest news or call the company and ask for information to be sent out to you..

Here are some example questions :

  • Do you know who our CEO is?
  • What is the airline code ?
  • What is the airline’s mission statement?
  • Where do they fly to?
  • Are there any future plans for expansion or growth?
  • What airports do they fly out of?
  • Who are the airline’s major competitors?
  • How many employees do they have at any one time?
  • What products and services do they offer?
  • What do you like about this particular airline?
  • What is the airline’s customer care policy?
  • How long have they been operating?
  • How big is our fleet size ?
  •  what type of aircraft we operate?
  • who played the song in our lastest advertising campaign?
  • What do you know about this country ( the country of the airline company base) ?
  • And ect.

While rote learning of particular specific questions for your cabin crew interview on the whole can be useful, it is not nearly as effective as knowing why and how the applicant wants a question answered. When you know the reason for a question being asked and the format required to effectively answer it, any question can be answered with confidence and completeness. Back ground knowledge of your chosen airline and complete cabin crew interview preparation will certainly dispel any jitters and add to your over all presentation and delivery. Your knowledge of the airline and that of the cabin crew job role will provide a great reference base upon which to be able to naturally answer any questions. By then drawing on your own experiences when giving an answer you’ll be able to provide consistency and accuracy in your answers without fabrication. Key thing is to do your homework and read up as much as possible about the airline.

On the day, wake up nice and early. Eat your breakfast because you need to have the energy to think and to answer and face the recruiter. You can bring snack and water bottle so you will not be hungry to get ready for a very long day. But avoid spicy or garlic rich food as these may taint your breath. Prepare to the upmost of get plenty of sleep the night before the interview. Yawning in front of the interviewer suggests boredom. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before. Sleep early and set your alarm clock for your interview tomorrow and don’t consume alcohol the night before. It is important to have all your documents (passport, ID card, updated resume, list of references, certificates etc), ready before the first day of your interview because you will avoid stress, save time and you will look focused, determined and very well prepared in front of the recruiters. You should be on time because punctuality is essential when working as cabin crew. Arriving early is always better than arriving late. It’s good to get there 30 to 45 minutes earlier in order to get in line with the first applicants. You’ll then be in the first group and will be able to leave earlier that day. You will meet the recruiters while your face is still looking fresh, it will be a certain plus for it so do grooming checks on yourself, retouch on your makeup if it’s smeared or tainted. And remember to turned off cellphones to listen to the panel’s instructions and make sure that you follow their guidelines and instructions properly. Also bring pen to fill up forms that related to interview process and use watch for writing test as well.

 

NON VERBAL COMMUNICATION ( BODY LANGUAGE )

When meeting someone new, we humans take a mere 30 seconds to form an opinion. We base our judgement on body language and appearance. This first impression can not be altered at a later stage, but with enough preparation for the interview, you will have project your ideas confidently automatically the way you speak and your body language will show the positif side so the key for an interview is preparation.  The little signals that we unconsciously send to the people we interact with show exactly what we feel at that certain time. We can decode somebody’s body language better than anything else, so it will pay off to be aware of it.

What is actually nonverbal communication ?, non verbal communication is often said to be a nonverbal behavior or body language. This is a way to convey information, such as words. However, "the words" expressed through facial expressions, body movements, touch (haptics), physical movement (kinesics), posture, body accessories (clothing, jewelry, hairstyle, tattoos), and the volume of the sound of someone (not the content of the conversation). Approximately 60 to 65 percent of interpersonal communication consist of nonverbal behavior (Burgoon, 1994, page 229-285).

Non verbal communication can open up your actual thoughts, feelings, and intentions of the person. Nonverbal behavior tells us about what is in mind of a person. Because people do not always realize what he communicates nonverbally, body language is often more honest than verbal statement of a person, which is consciously designed to achieve the goals of the speaker. Observation on nonverbal behaviors of someone help to understand the feelings, intentions and actions of a person or clarify verbal communication.

     Most people imagine themselves have one brain and know that the brain is the control center of cognitive abilities. In real life, there are three "brains" in the human skull. These three "brains" have specific functions that work together to make the brain as " center of control and command" that organize all the things that our bodies do. In 1952, the first scientist who said that human brain as a triune brain is Paul Maclean. Triune consists of reptile brain (stem), the mammalian brain (limbric), and the human brain (neocortex). The mammalian brain (limbric) play the largest role in regulating the expression of nonverbal. However, we will use the neocortex brain (the part of brain is used for thinking) to critically analyze the reaction of the mammalian brain (limbric) around us to reveal what is thought, felt or intended by others. (Ledoux, 1996, page 184 to 189; Goleman, 1995, page 10 to 21).

It should be understood that the brain controls all behavior, whether consciously or unconsciously. In the study of nonverbal communication, limbric brain is where the action takes place because this is the part of the brain that reacts reflex and instantly, directly, and without thinking first that there is world around us. For that reason, the limbric brain, give an honest response to the information coming from the surrounding environment (Myers, 1993, page 35 to 39). It can be concluded that the verbal language is produced by the neocortex brain and non verbal language is produced by the limbic brain.

 

When we speak, we use all of our body parts, such as the eyebrows, head, hands, arms, torso and legs, to emphasize what we feel in our heart.

a. Head :

  • Head tilted while speaking says clearly, "I am comfortable, I am open, I am friendly.”

 

       

  • Touching or fondling on the curve of the neck shows discomfort, fear, confusion or worry like playing with necklaces have the same meaning and the man is tidying his tie to overcome the discomfort, the tie is on the curve of the neck.

 

                    

  • When a person's confidence is being low or somebody is being worried, chin will be down, forcing the nose pointing down. While, when someone feeling positive, the chin 'out' and the nose will be raised a little higher. Both are a sign of a sense of comfort and high confidence.

 

  • The characteristic of stress face is looked tense, eyebrows and forehead slightly wrinkled and squinted.

 

b. Eyes

                

  • An action to close the eyes is the most obvious way to show confusion, distrust, or uncertainty.

 

         

  • The Pupil of a person is widened when someone is feeling comfortable and happy, but it will be smaller when you feel stressed.

 

  • Closing the eyelids or covering the eyes with hands conveys someone is not feeling happy.

 

  • When someone's eyebrows swooped upward it means that the person is feelings happy.

 

  • Looking straight ahead

When someone looks straight ahead to you, this is usually a good sign. After all, most of us will try to catch someone’s eye by looking him or her to show our interest. But do consider that people usually also look away as they are processing what you are saying. So, if someone looks right at you and doesn’t look away at all, the message of what you are saying may not even come across. Also, people who are lying are often aware that eye movement may give them away, so they will look you straight in the eye. And keep looking.

  • Looking up and to the left

              Visually Constructed Images ( VC )

              Looking up is an eye body language sign of thinking .If you are looking to the left as well, you are processing information. Some people associate this with lying.

  • Looking up and to the right

              Visually Remembered Imagines (VR)

              When you are trying to remember an experience.

  • Looking to the left

            Auditory Constructed (AC )

            Trying to identify a sound. This sound is they have never heard of.

  • Looking to the right

             Auditory Remembered ( AR )

             Trying to remember a sound ,for example if you asked someone to “remember what their mother’s voice

             sound like.”

  • Looking down and to the left

             Feeling or Kinesthetic ( F )

       Used in recalling a smell, feeling or taste. Constantly looking down signals “submissive.”  It could be that

       this person feels guilty or sad.

  • Looking down and to the right

             Internal Dialog ( AI )

             This is the direction of someone eyes as they “talk to themselves”

 

c. Mouth

         

  • Sincere smile pushed the end of mouth upwards until to near eyes the mouth usually wide open. While the fake smile or a polite smile, the mouth end pulled towards the ear and just a little emotion in the eyes.

 

  • When a person feels stress, the lips will start to disappear like biting the lip. When lips look fuller it means that someone is satisfied or happy.

 

  • Pouting of the lips like a fish until wrinkled usually occurs when someone disagrees with something or when someone is thinking of other alternatives.
  •  When someone is speaking very quickly it is showing nervousness.

 

 d. Body

 

  • "Turtles Effects" (shrugged and bowed head) standing with torso and shoulders downright is seen when people lost confidence or have low self-esteem.

 

e. Torso or Chest

 

  • When speaking, someone will lean his torso and shoulders to the direction that they like and keep away from the directions that they dislike

  • Someone will cover his torso with objects, hands, clothes, or anything when he feels uncomfortable or nervous. The hand suddenly crossed by putting it on torso or stomach in a conversation may indicate discomfort.
  •  When someone is feeling stressed, his chest will inflate and deflate rapidly.

 

f. Hands

  • Putting the whole hand in the pockets means that a person feels less confident, but if the thumb is outside the pockets it can be interpreted positively for the thumb always indicates a positive meaning.

 

  • Hands placed behind means that he feels to have a higher status or he does not want to be approached by anyone, wanting to be alone.
  • When hands that are placed under the table when talking means that he feels uncomfortable in conversation or not confident.

 

  • One of the most offensive movement is "pointing". This movement has negative connotations throughout the world.
  • Beautifying actions can create negative perceptions as tidying clothes, hair and body while worrying about their appearance. For example, when a person should listen to others but instead beautifies themselves in such a way that they are only focused on themselves, this act is considered impolite.
  • Sweaty hands do not only occur from the heat, but also when someone feels nervous or stressed. No one likes to shake hands with people whose hands are damp or wet, so dry your hands before shaking hands.

 

  • Nail biting activity is regarded as nervousness.
  • Shaking hands when holding items such as paper or pen, means that someone is feeling stressed or nervous.

 

  • Hands with the fingertips meet each other or can be done with the thumb and forefinger shows high self confidence for the movement that accentuates thumb is a thing with a positive connotation.

 

  • Both hands are clasped with fingers bent, tighten and unify the fingers as if in prayer is a universal sign indicating that someone is stressed or worried.
  • Rub the palms together mean that someone is in doubt, nervousness or lack of confidence.

 

g. Legs

 

                 

  • When torso is facing the speaker, but the legs pointing outward or the other direction, or hold the knee when sitting, lifting the heel indicate that someone wanted to get away and end the conversation.

  • Someone with a high confidence will have more space like spread his legs, stand with torso and shoulders upright, when the legs are opened widely it can be interpreted that someone has high confidence.

 

  • When sitting or standing, when the heel stays on the ground, but the tip of the shoe pointing up indicates that this person has heard good news or is happy. 

 

                  

  • When someone does not like the topic of the conversation or does not like the person he talking with, then he will change the position of his legs crossed while sitting so that the thighs becomes limiting or crossed by locking both knees.

 

  • Dancing feet or shake could mean being in a state of nervous or happy depending on the circumstances.

 

Touch of the face, mouth, head, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, thighs or legs is a response to negative stimulus such as difficult questions or feel stress because something was heard, seen and thought. For example,  movement of wiping the eyebrows, cheeks or wetting lips, tugging at the ear, playing with hair, sighs with inflated cheeks, excessive yawning is showing a sense of stress.

However, before we conclude the meaning of nonverbal language, we must observe the person or the circumstances affecting the person to determine if the nonverbal communication given is an exception such as a disability, a habit, cold or hot weather, itching, pain or other factors.