Everyone knows something about body language and how it impacts the way that people perceive us.
We all know a firm handshake is good, eye contact relays confidence and smiling makes us more likeable.
But did you know your body language has a scientifically proven impact on your own body and your emotions?
By adopting certain postures for only 2 minutes, such as the wonder woman pose here, you can make yourself feel more powerful and confident… a very useful tip when you are preparing for a high pressure situation such as a difficult meeting or an important sales pitch.
By Changing your Body Chemistry ….
Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business School Professor and social psychologist, is known for her interest in emotions, power, nonverbal behaviour, and the effects of social stimuli on hormone levels.
During her research into social stimuli and hormones Amy proved that certain body postures that she calls ‘Power Poses’ can immediately change your body chemistry, which in turn changes your emotional state.
They tend to have higher testosterone levels which are associated with power and dominance, and lower cortisol levels which indicate decreased anxiety and a better ability to deal with stress.
Levels of both of these hormones can change rapidly depending on the social, physical and environmental cues around you. If you are in a situation that makes you feel anxious or less then confident (ie. a difficult meeting or an important pitch), you can counter that by changing your body posture. This will in turn change your testosterone and cortisol levels which will change your emotional state.
To increase your testosterone and reduce your cortisol Amy suggests 2 minutes in a high Power Pose.
This involves opening up your body, stretching and expanding it as much as possible. Basically you are making yourself appear bigger – think Mick Jagger strutting on stage!
If you need to feel more confident we suggest adopting a high power pose for 2 minutes (ideally before your meeting and not whilst in it!) to help your body to create the right balance of testosterone and cortisol to help you to feel more powerful and relaxed.
If you continue to use power body language in your meeting or pitch (see the picture at the end of this post for examples) you will positively impact how others perceive you too.
It is also useful to be aware of your posture so that you avoid ‘low power’ poses, where you are hunched or making yourself smaller (look down at your notes or slouching in your chair).
Below are some examples of high power poses with the associated low power pose underneath to avoid.
Amy’s TED talk on how your body language shapes who you are is one of the most popular talks of all time is and definitely worth the 20 minutes to watch if you haven’t seen it