There is a type of nonverbal communication we all use that makes a massive impact in our communications with others, and it’s called body language. Your body can talk to others, as well as yourself. Understanding how to use your body language to your advantage, when you communicate with others, is something all professionals and avid learners need to do to expand their definition and understanding of being a “good communicator.”
Increasing your knowledge of and reflecting on your body language can lead you to studying how to use powerful body language in a professional setting that is open, assertive, kind, and authoritative without being rude, belittling, overly dominant, or portraying low emotional intelligence. Walking the thin line between these two extremes can be difficult, but one way professionals or avid learners can mediate that issue is through power posing.
Before we dive into power posing, let’s first define what usually constitutes easily discernable body language from power posing. Typical body language postures most people use when communicating with others include, but are not limited to, pointing your feet towards the true object of your attention, mimicking the body language of the people you’re talking with, and leaning in when you’re interested or leaning away when you’re not.
Knowing the difference between subconsciously-driven body language and power posing can help you to use power posing in all areas of life, especially the areas of your life that cause intense social stress or anxiety.
The “power” in “power posing” finds its core in either sitting or standing, as the movements into these positions and the actual moments you stay seated or standing result in a heightened, more pleasant mood state. Using this type of body language in your career can make you seem highly credible in other’s eyes, due to your assumed confidence and natural low levels of stress. Amy Cuddy–a social psychologist whose, “research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions — and perhaps even our own body chemistry — simply by changing body positions–gave a TED talk explaining how body language shapes who we are. And, if our body language can truly impact how we think and act, then it’s important to know that the essence of power posing is this: by way of example, one must assume one of the below five power poses for two straight minutes in order to enter into an optimal emotional state immediately thereafter.
Note: These poses might feel silly at first, but watch how they affect you and change you profoundly after using them for a minimum of two minutes!
1) The Hands On Your Hips Pose
Standing with your back straight, chest out, and hand on your hips is what many know as “The Wonder Woman” pose. Much like a superhero, standing in this manner shows you are confident. Over the course of the two minutes, your body stance will tell your brain that you actually are confident.
2) Sleeping Stretched Out
Sleeping on your back in a stretched out position is considered to be a “high-power” pose. The closer you bring your legs and arms to your torso, the lower-power the pose is. Stretching out can give you a better sense of confidence when you wake up.
3) The Crossed Arms Pose
To do this pose, simply cross your arms tightly and relax your shoulders. This is a great pose for anyone speaking in meetings. When your shoulders are back, it shows a sign of confidence.
4) Leaning with Your Hands on the Table
This looming position gives people the statement that you mean business. Use this pose to gain control of a room, commanding the audience without saying a word.
5) The Victory Pose
Stand with your legs spread apart and your arms reaching towards the sky, making a “v” shape. Known as the “victory” pose, standing in this position for 2 minutes can send a rush of hormones through your body, naturally boosting your confidence.
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