9 Oct 2012

Body language Shapes who you are

Wouldn't it be great if when we felt down, depressed, anxious, unconfident or generally not quite as sharp as normal we could train ourselves to get through it? I think it would be great.

To some, it may seem obvious that you can train / prepare yourself to get through hard times, or up your game from where you currently are, but to many the obvious is often clouded when emotions are involved.

OK, so contrary to what some people would have you believe, there isn't a magic potion that requires minimum effort that will transform us with positive long term affects. There is however, compelling evidence to suggest that not only can we 'fake' our body language to change others perception of us (think Politicians), but overtime we can train ourselves physically to become the thing we are faking. To coin a phrase from Amy "Fake it 'til you become it' I.E Genuinely feel powerful, confident, more in control, less anxious etc.

Ok, sounds great...what do I need to do

  1. Watch this compelling TED Talk by Amy Cuddy. Amy is a Social Psychologist who's research on body language reveals that "we can change other people's perception - and even our own body chemistry - simply by changing body positions. " What makes this TED Talk even more credible is Amy's own experience of going through this process in her own life. She has 'practiced what she preaches'.
  2. Spend a few minutes analysing your own body language in certain situations - I.E how do you sit when in a meeting, or when you are presenting. How does your boss sit?
  3. Learn the fundamental High-Power and Low-Power poses as per Amy's TED Talk
  4. Practice / make yourself deliberately use the High-Power poses
  5. Repeat all of the above and monitor yourself over time. 

P.S - I am not suggesting that if you feel any of the things I mention above that the five points are all you need to do. What I am saying is that (a) You can learn a lot about yourself and how people perceive you simply by analysing your own body language, and (b) there is reasonable evidence to suggest that "Tiny Tweaks to your own body language overtime can create big longtime changes for you." So these steps can only help you on your path, and that I believe is worth sharing.

If anyone else has experience of this, I would love to hear about it so please do share.

Amy Cuddy on Twitter @amyjccuddy

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