Get Creative with Power-Boosting Non-Verbals


Image source: svyatoslav romanov. unsplash.com

Posted on March 2, 2017

A study by Professor Mehrabian revealed that communication is only 7% verbal and 93% non-verbal. The non-verbal component was made up of body language (55%) and tone of voice (38%). This is today known as the 7% rule.

So, what is your body language communicating to me? What’s mine communicating to you?
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy, studied the non-verbals associated with power and dominance. She believes that we can both communicate an impression of power and generate within ourselves, the sensation of being more powerful (and thus more influential) by simply changing our body position during or prior to communicating.

By looking at the way the animal kingdom express power and dominance, Cuddy recognised two main types of body positions:

  • Taking up space i.e. Expanding
  • Retreating into space i.e. Shrinking

And we humans do this too. These are universal, archetypal expressions of power.
So, how can you use this information to become more influential in situations where you would like to feel more powerful?

In the words of Amy Cuddy, strike a power pose.
If you are about to go into a meeting, take 5 minutes to:

  • stand tall, raise your ams, lift your chest – occupy that space around you with the magnificent presence that is You.

If you find yourself in conversation and start to notice yourself shrinking; stop, bring awareness to the way your body is folding up and then, change your posture in subtle ways, and begin doing the opposite- expand into the space around you.

One more thing… Cuddy conducted experiments and discovered that standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone (the dominance hormone) and cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in the brain. High-power alpha-males in primate hierarchies have high testosterone levels and low cortisol levels. Powerful and effective leaders also have high testosterone and low cortisol levels.

So what does that mean?
It means that Power – or the feeling of being powerful – is also about how you react to stress.

Strike a power pose and you may encourage the release of testosterone and decrease the release of cortisol, allowing you to mitigate the experience of stress in your body, and to attend to the situation with greater clarity and resilience.

We here at Redwood and Co. invite you to experiment and get creative with a couple of power poses today and see what differences you start to notice in your communication – we’d love to hear from you.

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