Leadership: Using Body Language


Using Your Body Language Effectively

By now, you have hopefully watched psychologist Amy Cuddy’s incredible TedX talk about body language. I almost refer to it on a daily basis. There is little that we do that our body language and power dynamics do not come into play.

We all have heard how our mind affects our physical health, but she also speaks about the power of our physical being affecting our thoughts. The act of smiling can help us feel more optimistic even when we don’t feel particularly happy. The act of standing tall can help us feel stronger even when we don’t feel particularly able. Try it.

How others view our presence affect our effectiveness, promotability, and authority. How we carry ourselves holds great implications on how others view our competence and credibility. We cannot control our height or our youthful looks or jaw size, but we can control our physical appearance and body language to create a powerful presence that convey leadership and authenticity.

6 Body Language Tips

1. Audit your body
Check in with yourself throughout the day – your posture, your hand & feet placement. Are you slouching? Sit up. Are your arms crossed? Undo them.

2. Dress up
Find out the standard dress, and raise it up a notch. If your office is business casual, don’t just do hip jeans and a shirt. Think elegant business casual. Throw on a silk scarf. Go for a fitted button-down shirt.

3. Own the space
Don’t shirk away by folding yourself up. Make some room for yourself – it conveys that you are someone important that needs the space.

4. Don’t overdo it
But be careful. Spreading yourself across two chairs doesn’t suggest importance – it suggests arrogance.

5. Be Superwoman
Before you head into a meeting, do as Amy Cuddy says, stand like Superwoman. You’ll be amazed how 30 seconds of a power stance can your change your behavior.

6. Be Comfortable with You
Take time to know your strengths and your values. The more certain you are of yourself, the more authentic and more powerful your presence will be.

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