Mathew J Maniyamkott
If you are in a position of authority and power, you can steer your team to success by just using the power of body language. Body language provides a lot of information about people that you can use to deal with people. Haven’t we all wanted to read the minds of other people? A UCLA research says that 55 percent of communication is based on your body language. So remember that your team can be influenced by your body language more than what you say. All your employees will be internalising your actions. To be a successful leader, you need to be confident and possess integrity. How do you portray all these traits using your body language?
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When your team is down and out after a failed project, they are looking for some inspiration from you. If you meet them with drooping shoulders and a morose demeanour, your employees will be no less than you. In fact, they will mirror your exact body language and lag in their upcoming tasks, thanks to the atmosphere that you created. This is when you need to employ the ‘power posture’. Power posture is opening up physically by occupying more space. It is known to have a range of confidence-boosting effects. A simple example for it would be standing by having your feet apart with hands on hips. Research has revealed that simply employing the power pose increases your mental state. The power pose is known to increase testosterone, increases the ability to take risk, and improves belief in oneself, among others. The next time you are about to meet a VC or are to have an interview, try doing the power pose, sitting or standing.
Eyes possess the power to hold a person’s emotions. There is a lot that you can convey with your eyes. This is why you see many dance forms employ the use of eyes to convey the emotions in their act. You don’t have to keep the eye contact unwavering. In fact, it might be a little rude if you don’t take your eyes away from your partner for long. Look deep enough to gauge the emotions of your partner.
When faced with difficulties, it is normal to be the opposite of upbeat. It is impossible to ‘fake confidence’ sometimes even though it is a highly proven technique to improve confidence. To get back confidence when it has taken a beating, try the priming strategy instead. Think of a past success that gets you all beaming and proud. Remember how your voice sounded and how fantastic you felt. Trying to remember that incident will slowly increase your confidence and carry this feeling into your meeting room. Always works like a charm.
You might have observed that people on stage, when trying to make a point about which they are certain, touch the tips of the fingers making sure the palms are separated. This is called steeple, and you do this when you want to come across as sincere in what you just said.
Fidgeting will easily give away the fact that you are uncomfortable and unconfident. It is also more easily identifiable than other non-verbal cues. When we do such things we lose our credibility immediately. Being still, calm, and collected shows confidence. Also, a smile is one of the highly valued non-verbal cues that you have in your kit. Smiling not only makes you feel better, but you come across as approachable, and also provide a sense of comfort to your partner.
Did that seem like a counter-intuitive step towards being confident? When you walk slower than most people, it shows that you are confident and unstressed. When your replies to people are a second later than normal, it indicates that you speak only after taking a moment of thought to answer intelligently. When someone calls you, do not turn back immediately; pause for a moment and then turn. You will look much more powerful in their eyes.
What you say during a meeting is important as are all the other non-verbal cues that you generate. People will not only judge based on the content that you deliver but also on the little actions. Be very alert every time you interact formally with someone. You can change your body language slowly, but like most things in life, it will take time for you to master it effortlessly. Keep on doing it until you don’t have to make an effort to do it.