What Your Body Language Says About You
It’s a “Secret” confidence game-changer
We only get one chance at making a good first impression and we all want to be perceived positively by a potential new employer, client, family member or even a blind date. Most of us know how to make our first interactions an intelligent discourse. We may even stop and look at the mirror for last minute adjustments to our clothes, hair and makeup—accepting that looks are all part of that all-important equation. But social science tells us that there’s one more thing to be aware of –and it can be a game changer—and that’s posture. Did you know that the way we carry ourselves, the way we walk across a room, stand, sit and use our hands influences how others perceive us?
Body language speaks for you and instantly conveys how confident or powerless you feel about yourself at that moment. People who are unsure of themselves during stressful, uncomfortable events, may slide into a room, eyes down, shoulders hunched forward. They are generally unaware that they are ‘hiding in plain sight’ as they cave into a chair, with one leg twisted over and around the other, covering their neck or face with one hand, or fidgeting nervously. If you’ve ever caught yourself in any of these unattractive moves, you know all of the effort being used to go unnoticed makes you feel emotionally lousy, too.
To get our bodies to tell others that we are competent, confident and we really do want others to get to know us better, Harvard psychologist and author of Presence, Bringing Your Boldest Self To your Biggest Challenges (Little Brown) has researched all the right moves for success.
For starters, Cuddy reveals it’s important to know that it’s a fact that our body speaks to the mind and has the ability to change what’s going on inside of our heads. So with a change of positions -- head up, shoulders back, walking with a wider stance and taking up more space as you sit, keeping hands comfortably at your sides, for instance-- we immediately send a message to the brain, that we have energy and we’re feeling up to the occasion. It also helps us make immediate connections with others by visually showing them that we are open and interested in the goings on around us.
So make an effort to assess your moves and posture every now and then, and tweak and adjust subtly them to up your chances of success during those important situations when first impressions count.