As you are reading this post, reflect on your body. Are you hunched over? Do you have your arms, legs or ankles crossed? Are you opened up and spread out? Pay attention to what you are doing as you continue to read.
We all know that our body language affects how we communicate. In fact, we make judgments based on inferences from body language such as whom we hire or promote in the workplace. Research shows that when people are shown 30-second soundless clips of physician-patient interactions, their judgment on the physician’s niceness predicted whether or not the physician got sued. This suggests that the physician’s skills were not as important as our interactions with them.
However, when we think of non-verbal communication, we often ignore the effect of our own body language on ourselves.
Our non-verbals govern how other people think and feel about us.
Do our non-verbals govern how we think and feel about ourselves?
In her world renowned TED talk, psychologist, Amy Cuddy discovered if you posed as if you have power, for just two minutes, not only does it affect the way people perceive you, but it has an affect on your mental state.
Amy Cuddy and her colleagues performed an experiment by randomly assigning participants to two groups: High-Power or a Low-Power pose group. She then had them go through an intense and stressful five minute job interview.
What did she find?
Cuddy’s research suggests that standing in a power pose for two- minutes can raise your testosterone (the dominance hormone) by 25%, and also lower your stress-inducing hormone, cortisol, by 25%. Furthermore, the people who were consistently recommended and evaluated more positively overall were the high posers. This was not due to the content of their speech or their qualifications, but their presence, enthusiasm, passion, and confidence.
For only two minutes a day, adopt a high power pose in an elevator or behind your desk behind closed doors. In your next interaction with your colleagues, reflect on how you use your body to deliver your message across. Remember you are never given a second chance to make a first impression… so make the first one really count!
To learn more on this topic, watch Dr. Cuddy's Ted Talk, click here.
Carney, D. R., Cuddy, A. J., & Yap, A. J. (2010). Power posing brief nonverbal displays affect neuroendocrine levels and risk tolerance. Psychological Science, 21(10), 1363-1368.