Can Your Body Language Shape Who You Are?
If you could walk into an interview or give a speech and know that the probability of your success would increase by a simple action, what would you do? Ten out of ten times, I would do that action. Would you? I know what you are thinking. I’m going to suggest that our body language will help others perceive us as confident therefore increasing our success. Right? Yes, but that’s just a small part of it.
I heard this incredibly inspiring story about a woman who was in a terrible car accident and in a blink of an eye was stripped of what she thought made her. With a bit of luck and body language, she overcame obstacles that her doctors didn’t think she could.
Amy Cuddy was a college student when she was in a serious car accident that threw her from her car. During rehab, doctors told Amy that her head injuries were severe and the damage to her brain reduced her I.Q. two standard deviations. They also told her that college was no longer an option. Bound and determined, and feeling that she did not belong there, Amy stuck with it and finished college four years later.
Today, 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.
The premise behind Amy’s research shows that not only does body language help others view you as confident, but that the act of power posed body language can actually change our minds which lead to us changing our behavior. When our behavior is changed, we can and will be able to change the outcome.
In other words, if you are very shy and your body language shouts, “I’m shy!”. Try faking it. If your body language says that you are powerful, you will eventually start to feel powerful. “Fake it until you make it”. Amy worked it until she made it but took it a step further. “Fake it until you become it.” Once you start to feel more powerful and confident, you will become more powerful and confident. These findings from Amy’s research reveals that it is possible to control those feelings and become more powerful.
Not everyone can have a spotlight on them while speaking like Amy Cuddy. Properly using the space around you when giving a speech or presentation can have an impact on what you are trying to say to your audience. Some speakers in business have found that using a room divider provides a great frame and draws more attention to you. Room dividers also help to elevate distractions for those listening.
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