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Most social psychologists say that nonverbal communication makes up about two-thirds of all communication between two people or between one speaker and a group of listeners. These ‘silent messages’ include body positions, movements, facial expressions, voice quality and intonation, mannerisms and more.
Does this mean that you can spout total gibberish and count on the right body language to sell your expertise for you? Heck no! But you could be unknowingly undermining your own success when your physical presence doesn’t support your message.
Studies have shown that there’s a strong correlation between the physiological (your body) and the psychological (how you think and feel.) To put it plain: how you hold your body will affect how you think, feel and act. The good news is that you can absolutely fake it ’til you make it. You can boost your charisma by assuming physical positions that make you feel more confident. And when you feel yourself in a position of power, you’re more likely to behave in a powerful, confident way. Pretty cool, huh?
Here are poses to practice. They’ll help your exterior communicate the bold business superstar you are:
Totally obvious, right? A smile is the gateway to rapport; it telegraphs warmth and friendliness. But, when we’re nervous, we often forget to smile. Go ahead. Bust out your natural grin – it has remarkable powers to make you feel good.
Best of all, it can also affect the way that other people feel. Carol Kinsey Goman, author of The Silent Language of Leaders, says, “People instinctively mimic a smile when they see one, and that, in turn, affects their emotional state.”
Unleash Your Inner Superhero
Channel this positive emotion by standing with your body square, legs apart and hands on hips. Hold the pose for a full minute or two. “Your testosterone level increases, and your level of cortisol, a stress hormone, decreases,” says Goman.
Going into a situation where you need to appear confident? Ditch how you usually prepare for a big meeting or speech (sitting in a chair, hunched over your notes.) Instead, walk around with your arms up in the air and stre-e-t-ch your body by standing on tiptoes. When you enter the room, stand square and tall.
Going into a sitting situation? Don’t cross your legs or your arms! Rest your arms on the chair arms or go bold by leaning back in your chair and clasping your hands behind your head to really project dominance.
This week, practice being conscious of your physical presence. Three times each day, hold a power pose for two minutes. Higher testosterone levels + lower cortisol levels = one fabulous, confident business star!