Grandma was right to scold you for slouching. Research shows how you sit for just 2 minutes can affect your body’s hormones and actually impact how powerful you feel and are perceived. Harvard Professor Amy Cuddy explains in this video:
In this 17 min video (it’s worth the watch!) Cuddy shares the results of her experiments. Just two minutes in a power pose, an open position like hands on hips, boosted testosterone and lowered cortisol levels in participants. In addition to the physiological changes, striking this pose prior to participating in a stressful situation positively changed the performance of research participants.
On the other hand, posing for two minutes in a closed pose, such as arms crossed or hand on chin, decreased testosterone and increased cortisol levels. Participants who were in these positions prior to the stressful situation did not perform well.
This research demonstrates the power of posture and also that of non-verbal communication. The participants were conveying, or not conveying, power and confidence primarily based on their non-verbal movements.
Statistics vary, but roughly 60-80% of your communication in non-verbal. Actual words make up about 7-10%, with tone of voice making up the rest.
Subtle, and often subconscious, movements such as facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, and posture send strong messages to the receiver.
What does this mean for you as a business owner?
- Before your next sales pitch or client meeting, hold a power pose for two minutes (ideally in a private setting). Be conscious of how you feel, while making sure you don’t become too overbearing with your new-found powerful feelings.
- Ensure employees are aware of how they communicate non-verbally. They may be inadvertently sending the wrong messages to clients and customers by their actions.
- Be conscious of your own movements. The way you listen, look, move, and react tells the other person whether or not you care, if you’re being truthful, and how well you’re listening.
Bottom line: You communicate more through your body language and tone than through your words. Be aware of the signals you’re sending, so you can be sure what you’re “saying” is really what you want to communicate.
Challenge: Before your next meeting, interview, sales pitch, etc. try holding a power pose for two minutes. Observe any changes in your attitude or behavior and how it may have affected the outcome. Share your results in the comments section.