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Non-Verbal Skills

This article will discuss the importance of non-verbal skills and how best to utilise these at your medical school interview.


  • Speech enhancement - non-verbal skills are proof of your communication skills. They will be accompanying your speech and support you in getting your ideas across.

  • Interaction - your non-verbal skills will help establish a good and meaningful connection to the person you are talking to and provide them with an overview of your personality.

  • 1st impression - as you enter the room, your non-verbal skills will be introducing you before you do, so make sure you make a good impression.


The Face

  • Most expressive part of the body - use your facial expressions to persuade and emphasise your points.

  • Show your enthusiasm throughout - the sparkle in your eyes, as well as your smile will demonstrate how enthusiastic you are.

  • Smile - one smile can make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful candidate, but make sure you are not overdoing it.

  • Maintain eye contact - eye contact is crucial. Always look the interviewer/stimulated patient in the eyes when talking to them.

The Body

  • Body language- highly important. Try not to play with your hair or accessories, or make inappropriate gestures.

  • Hand movements - use them to enhance your persuasion but make sure not to exaggerate and use your hands and arm too much.

  • Position - maintain an adequate and professional position. Try to sit upright and make sure you're not crossing your arms or legs.

  • Clothing - one of the most important aspects. Make sure you look professional while also feeling comfortable in your clothes.

The Hands



Place your hands on the desk, palms up. This shows sincerity and trustworthiness.

Place your hands palm down. This comes across as overly dominant and closed.

Press your fingertips together. This is a popular hand gesture among politicians and helps you come acorss as confident and credible.

Conceal your hands beneath the desk or fidget with them. This may be interpreted as you being deceitful or impatient.

Use occassional hand gestures to illustrate your points. This makes you look enthusiatic and animated.

Use too many or too few hand gestures. Over gesturing can be distracting whereas under gesturing can come across as cold.

What to wear

  • Professional look - you need to dress like a future doctor, therefore adopting a professional dress code will be highly appreciated by the interviewers.

  • Comfortable- there's no point in dressing like a professional if you're not feeling comfortable. Keep in mind that you will be spending intense hours in these clothes, so make sure your clothes and shoes are comfortable.

  • Look at consultants - a good place to aim your attire from is to dress like you hope to once you have gotten your job, in this case how many of the consultants will dress in clinics and on ward rounds.

  • NHS dress code - there is a concise description for medical students as to how to dress on placements to look professional. This is the perfect place to start and accurately describes what is expected form a future doctor.


How to practice your facial expressions and body language

  • Practice in the mirror

  • Talk to friends and family - the people that know you best will be able to direct you to habits or gestures that you may not be aware that you do.

  • Control your movements - become aware of your own habits and start to focus on controlling these.

  • Observe others - watch some of the techniques of your favourite speakers. These may be people you see on the news, politicians, or fictional characters from TV shows. Look at their movements and expressions and think about how you could use these in your own interviews.


TAM's top tips

  1. Facial expression and body language are crucial for a good and convincing communicator - make sure you are aware of your own non-verbal skills.

  2. Dess professionally - try to have a smart outfit, wear as few accessories as possible and be comfortable.

  3. To learn more - you can use our website


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