Guest post by Debbie Anderson
“Don't fake it till you make it. Fake it till you become it.” So says social psychologist Amy Cuddy in her eye opening TED talk on body language.
Cuddy goes on to explain how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident could impact our chances for success in our personal, professional and social lives.
It's stands to reason that how you think and feel about yourself is revealed in your body language. If you feel small and powerless, you might cross your arms over your body and shrink from conversation; if you're anxious or nervous, you might fidget and fiddle with your hair, making you look even more uncomfortable.
And while we all know all this on one level, it's harder to put “successful” body language postures into practice. But the truth is, body language affects how others see us – and if we want that job or that girl – we'll have to pay attention to what our body is communicating.
Here are some “confident” body language practices and poses that will help you shine in every aspect of your life. And if it doesn't come easy at first, remember what Amy Cuddy said: “Fake it till you become it.”
1. Give a strong, firm handshake. This communicates confidence and power.
2. Make eye contact. This shows you are open and trustworthy.
3. Show your hands. Keeping your hands in the open, rather than stuffed down your pockets or crossed over your chest suggests you have nothing to hide and are secure in who you are.
4. Relax everything. Unclench your jaw, your shoulders, your stomach. An “easy” informal posture says you have high self-esteem and are comfortable in yourself, which leads to people putting more trust in you.
5. Pay attention to your voice. Adopt a natural tone (i.e. don't talk too fast or slow, and eliminate “ums” from your speech). Pretend you are speaking to someone who knows, accepts and respects you at all times.
Try the above “poses” and see what happens. According to many experts, Cuddy included, practicing these postures speaks a biochemical reaction in your body that changes how you act and how in turn, how other people perceive you, from the hot woman at the bar to the boss at your job.