5 Hints for Body Language Basics

Actress Theda Bara in the title role of Cleopatra

Actress Theda Bara in the title role of Cleopatra

1. Understand Nonverbal Communication

In situations where emotions or attitudes are being impacted, nonverbal communication plays an essential role. We’ve all experienced situations where the person’s words didn’t match the tone of their voice, or their posture. In those situations, we normally view the nonverbal as more authentic. Basically, if I tell you that you are awesome with a scowl on my face and my arms crossed, you won’t believe my words.

The other side of nonverbal communication is how it impacts you, the communicator. It turns out that research into how our own posture affects our feelings, hormones, and behaviors shows that we become more confident and less stressed when we adopt the poses that communicate power.

2. Get Comfy

In order to become a successful nonverbal communicator (and I’m not talking about becoming a mime 🙂 ) you will need to get comfortable with yourself. If the thought of speaking in front of a group makes you want to curl up into a ball, a few practice exercises are in order. Being self-conscious and uncomfortable distracts your listener and prevents them from receiving whatever message you are delivering.

If you are saying to yourself, ‘I could never do that,’  try out Step 3.

3. Own It

You just woke up and rolled, or hopped, out of bed. What’s your next move? The Wonder Woman, of course. Stand for approximately 2 minutes with your hands on your hips, legs slightly apart. Use the time to mentally review your day and any tasks you want to complete. Breathe easily and fully. Then you are off to a day of confidence and success.

You just pulled into the parking lot of your work, or job interview, or class. You have 2 minutes to put your arms behind your head, lacing your fingers at your neck. Rest your head on the headrest and breathe easily and fully. Then you are off to the next event with less stress and more poise.

You are in a waiting room, or your office. You have 2 minutes before your next meeting. Raise your arms up and rest them on either side of the back of your chair, put your feet up on your desk, if possible. Breathe easily and fully. Then you are off to the meeting with greater assurance and less trepidation.

4.Whatever You Do

Don’t:

  • slouch in your chair
  • sink your arms and hands between your legs
  • hold your neck
  • shrink in order to take up less space

These postures have been proven to decrease the hormones that encourage confidence and increase the chemicals that create more physical and mental stress. They are also a common form of body language of women. When you find yourself shrinking, make a mental note to expand your body. Put your arms on both armrests, or walk to the restroom and do the Wonder Woman.

5. Put It In Your Calendar

Seriously, set a time in your calendar to practice confident and successful postures. The research shows that as little as 2 minutes makes a big difference. Watch this video of Amy Cuddy and learn the science behind this powerful, simple technique. Treat it like any other personal development technique and set aside time to practice it.

Zette

PS – Try this for 7 days. Share your experiences in the comment section below.

 

 

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