I recently watched a very interesting TED Talk by Amy Cuddy who is a Social Psychologist. In this talk Amy speaks about the power of body language, not only on the impact it makes on people’s perceptions of ourselves but also on the ‘impact it has on us personally.’ http://go.ted.com/J7D
I found this to be extremely interesting as I have delivered over 500 workshops and help people develop their public speaking confidence. I definitely can relate to the fact that when people are unsure of themselves, lack confidence or are wary of a situation this will be highly evident in the body language they display; hunched shoulders, crossing arms or making themselves look small.
What Are Non-Verbal Communication?
Around 55% of our communication is non-verbal. Therefore people can read how you are feeling about yourself and the situation by just looking at you.
People will be looking at:
Posture: do you stand straight with your shoulders back and head held high, indicating you are confident or are your shoulders slightly hunched over in a submissive, powerless stance?
Legs: are your legs straight and grounded to the floor, indicating that you are sure of yourself and grounded or do you cross one leg over the other or shake your leg nervously?
Hands: do your hands look relaxed and you use them comfortably whilst speaking or do you wave them nervously, or stand there clenching them together, signalling tension?
Eye contact: do you hold steady eye contact, or do you look away or glance downwards constantly showing that you are not comfortable looking at this person or this situation?
Facial expressions: are you able to smile therefore looking relaxed or are you clenching your facial muscles and perhaps frowning? All of these and more are sending signals about what is happening to you internally.
Mastering your body language is a vital tool that everyone in business should be aware of and begin to practice whenever possible.
Does Body Language Affect Your Feelings?
Research shows that not only does body language affect how other people perceive you but it also affects how you feel about yourself.
Think back to a time when you were elated and feel over joyed. I am sure your gestures were big, open, perhaps you wanted to hug people and you may even have done the open hand power pose. How did you feel? Happy, elated, jubilant, free? The way your body responded to your actions would definitely have put you in a positive frame of mind. Your confidence as a public speaker will definitely improve.
Think of a time when you were feeling sad, upset or powerless. Perhaps you held yourself with both hands or your gestures would become slow and small or maybe you curled yourself up into a small ball. How did you feel, tearful, sad, guilty, reflective? Once again your body movements are closely linked to how we feel.
Both these poses are demonstrated frequently within the animal kingdom, which we are part of. The main primate will usually stand tall and puff out their chests, making themselves appear big and fearless. Whilst the lesser primates will hunch over their shoulders and avert their eyes in submission. This affects how we feel at any given time. How can you change your feelings in an instant?
Adopt Power Poses wonderwoman
During my workshops, I developed a module where I get the attendees, to demonstrate:
- a powerful pose
- a powerless pose
- and then ask them how it made them feel afterwards.
- Nearly all the recipients verbalised a change in how they felt within themselves.
- In order to Become the person you want to be, you must do the actions of that person.
BE – The Person
You want to be a confident speaker. As yourself, how does a confident speaker behave? Do they offer their speaking services to potential clients? Yes. Do they accept speaking invitations? Yes. Do they walk tall, smile and appear confident? It is always import to feel what it would be like to BE that person. Would your confidence be greater? Would you make decisive decisions? Would you plan your speaking agenda and not stop until you got the results you want? If that is the person you want to be, then you need to start being that person right now. Not tomorrow now.
DO – The Actions
So ‘Do,’ the actions you would take if you were that person. Walk tall, stand tall, smile more, have open hand gestures. Be aware of your body language.
If you are waiting to deliver a presentation. Stand tall in a quiet place. Close your eyes and visualise yourself walking on stage, head held high, chest out, open hand gestures with a lovely smile on your face. Remember the audience will eventually mirror your behaviours on stage. If you can, adopt the power pose. Even now.
Stand there for a minute or so, head held high, shoulders back, hands on hips, deep breathes and a smile on your face. Watch how it will change your mood instantly. You will feel elevated and powerful. Your testosterone may have increased and your breathing slowed down.
HAVE – It All
Be clear about what you would like to have. High paid speaking engagements, more adoration, more confidence, power to make a difference to people attending your talks. Be clear about what Have would entail. The more detailed you are, the more specific you can get, the clearer it will be when you get there and feel what it would be like to achieve your desired goals. Trust me, if you achieve your desires and goals you definitely will show it in your body language. Why wait until then, do it NOW because like attracts like.
You will definitely then attract all the elements necessary for your to achieve your purpose, if you make a decision to be that person NOW. Have confidence in you and have public speaking confidence that’s magnetic.
So remember to BE that person who is confident by adopting the body language that will serve you. DO the actions necessary in order to change your internal mood to fit the occasion and eventually you will HAVE all that you desire.