Body Language from birth to old age
Body language is something that we notice from people of all ages, from toddlers to teens and adults. We say a child is the shy type with the way she looks, sits or walks. We say a teenager has leadership qualities with the way she commands attention when entering a room, and in the way she handles her peers. We can say when an adult is responsible with the way she acts in situations, especially sticky ones. It is also something that we particularly focus on when it comes to office or business interactions.
Interesting Video to Watch
Here is a great TED talk video that I would like to share with you. It’s 20 minutes long, but I think well worth it. It was sent to me by one of my sorority sisters, and it struck a chord among that group of professional women (who are all very accomplished!), but felt that there was something they could learn in improving their body language.
Studies show that our nonverbals govern how other people think of us, which I think most people would accept as a given. But the question that the speaker in the video, social psychologist Amy Cuddy, asked is what impact our nonverbals have on how we think and feel about ourselves. She found that the answer is that it makes a big difference!
Just go ahead and watch the video
I don’t want to give away too much of the video in terms of the studies performed, but the way we pose, move, and act influence the way we think and feel about ourselves. If we open up, stand or sit up straight, or look at other people in the eye, we tend to feel powerful. Likewise, if we hunch, close ourselves by putting our hands on our neck or hug ourselves, we tend to feel powerless. Even if we have great ideas to share, or have the solutions to problems, our body language may be undermining our delivery of information, and the resulting group acceptance.
In this article on How to Read Body Language Signs and Gestures, it says that the sending and receiving of body language signals happens on both conscious and unconscious levels. While it may be difficult to control every aspect of our body language, something we do have control over is intentionally posing or moving in a certain way, in what are referred to as ‘power poses’ in the video. These intentional poses (think Wonder Woman or fist bumps) are things you can do in the bathroom, in the elevator or in closed, private office rooms. Take a few minutes before an important meeting or phone call, and when you take this action your testosterone levels will increase (dominance hormone) while your cortisol level will decrease (stress hormone).
So do you want to have that impact and positive first impression? Learn to do the power poses. As Amy Cuddy says “Don’t fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.”