We are all probably aware of how your body language says more to others than your actual words. In fact the actual words you use count for around 7% of the total message you are delivering.
So 93% of your communication is nonverbal and affects your communication with others more than most of us realise.
However there is one person who is also influenced by your body language who is often not considered: yourself.
Amy Cuddy is a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, where she studies how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments affect people from the classroom to the boardroom.
In this fascinating talk she details the results of her experiments into how posture and facial expressions can influence the feelings of the individuals expressing them.
We have all heard the saying ‘Fake it till you make it’ and it can sometimes be mistaken as meaning ‘be a fraud’. But in this context the saying is in relation to how you carry yourself, not your skill or knowledge level.
Research has shown that, for example, if you feel powerful and confident you will stand tall, perhaps hands on hips with your chin held high.
However if you feel inferior or less confident you will do everything you can to occupy as little space as possible; arms folded or wrapped around you (as if comforting yourself), legs crossed, head down.
Amy Cuddy’s experiments looked at what happened if she made volunteers stand or sit in a ‘power pose’ for two minutes before continuing and compared with those whom she made sit in a ‘weakness pose’.
Her results fascinated me as I am sure they will you. Standing or sitting in a ‘power pose’ for just two minutes raises testosterone (power hormone) and reduces cortisol (the stress hormone).
In other words, preparing the subject for confidence and power but with reduced stress.
She goes on to detail a practical example of how this kind of preparation can be used in the real-world situation of a job interview. Again, the results were fascinating.
I encourage you to watch the video of Professor Cuddy’s talk and hopefully we will all soon be doing a two-minute ‘Wonder Woman’ every day. I know I’ll be giving it a try.