Fake It And Become It? How Body Language Shapes You
As I was researching blog ideas to coincide with International People Skills Month, I happened upon a fascinating Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy, Social Psychologist, Professor and Researcher at Harvard Business School and expert in body language. Ms. Cuddy’s research on body languages reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions – and even our own body chemistry – simply by changing body positions. Nonverbal communication is the single most powerful form of communication. A study at UCLA indicated that up to 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. More than words, your expressions and movement can give your true thoughts and feelings away. What made Ms. Cuddy’s talk so interesting is the science behind using nonverbal communication to influence our own actions and behavior.
Usually when we think of nonverbal communication, we think of how we judge others or how others are judging us. Amy looks deeper into the other audience that is influenced by our nonverbals: ourselves. “Our bodies change our minds, and our minds change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.”
In a fascinating study of power poses, Amy speaks of the universal symbol of power across the animal kingdom - taking up as much space as possible. Illustrating her point with a pose coined ‘pride’ (arms extended high and wide in a victory stance), she explained how this concept is hard-wired into our nonverbal arsenal – that both people who are born with sight and people who are congenitally blind use the same pose to demonstrate power and pride when they win at a physical competition. Describing the differences in high power and low power poses, Ms. Cuddy backs up her talking points with science; standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident might have an impact on our chances for success. Holding a high power pose for two minutes (in the privacy of an office, an elevator, a bathroom, etc.) can increase your testosterone, lower your cortisol levels and configure your thoughts to best cope with the situation at hand.
We have all heard ‘fake it ‘till you make it’ and Amy backs it up and takes it a step further with “Fake it ‘till you become it.” You know you want to try it! Go ahead… close the door and raise those arms up!
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