The press went crazy. The Pentagon press secretary confirmed that about $300,000, yes, over a quarter million dollar every year, is spent on reading the body language of world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. They didn't mention which other world leaders are included in this specific budget – but everyone knows Putin is a huge part of this case study. The main idea is to mentally analyze non verbal clues that can be extracted from the subtle gestures and body movements of these world leaders.
It is no big secret that I am a firm believer in the mind-body connection, and this especially applies to the area of our personal body language. As people we literally give off thousands of unspoken cues each and everyday to everyone around us from prospective romantic partners to our boss to world leaders. And if governments around the world invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in this subject – it must make sense!
While we may be unaware of what we are saying with our bodies, by learning to understand this basic science – and without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars – we can elect to make deliberate choices and improve our happiness, success, and moreover how we are received. Additionally by learning to read body language we too hone into our “Superpower” of being able to read and connect to others better.
I am proud to bring to you these 6 simple body language tools to improve your success and happiness.
Click each one to open up the mini-chapter and read my insights about it. Don't forget to leave your comments at the end of this article!
1. The Power of 'Power Pose'
How many of us have been nervous about stepping into a situation – a meeting, a date, or a job interview? My guess is everyone whose reading this. Well, when you are stepping into any situation like this, it is the perfect time to put on your “Power Pose”.
What is a “Power Pose”? Well do you remember the famous hands on hips gesture made famous by both Superman and Wonder Woman? That’s it! And believe me there was a reason they were able to save the Universe, they were feeling confident and on top of their game.
Researchers at both Harvard and Columbia University concluded that opening up your body and holding it in a more expansive way has a wide range of confidence boosting effects. An example of a “Power Pose” is leaning back with your hands behind the head and feet up on a desk, or standing with legs and arms stretched wide open.
Holding a “Power Pose” for as little as 2 minutes actually instantly changes our physiology by stimulating higher levels of testosterone– the Male hormone linked to dominance and confidence- as well as lower levels of Cortisol, the stress hormone.
Try standing in a “Power Pose” the next time you are about to step into a situation that incites nerves or anxiety.
2. Face it: Your face means a lot!
The way we are standing isn’t the only thing that sends out signals to our bodies and the outside world, as anyone whose seen or even heard the Musical “Annie” knows, “You’re never fully dressed without a Smile.”
While we may not always be happy or in a joyful mood, by smiling more we can actually trick our bodies into releasing the happiness and pleasure hormones known as endorphins. Each and every emotion we experience whether it is pleasure or pain is the direct result of hormones released inside our bodies.
As with your body it is important to be mindful of the expression on our face as it can be affecting our mood in a negative way. In a study conducted in Italy last year, Italian researchers discovered that people felt angrier and more unhappy after they’d spent hours frowning in direct sunlight, as compared to the other group in the study who wore Sunglasses and smiled (why couldn't Putin smile in his sunglasses picture?) 🙂
Moral of the story, you can reset a bad mood by behaving as though you are happy. “Fake it until you make it” as one of my favorite teachers used to instruct my high school class.
3. Hands in Motion
As a speaker I used to often get the note to “use my hands less” because it was distracting on stage, however in life gesturing when you speak actually aids our mental function. Finally! Brownie Points to the Italians who are known for being expressive with their hands!
Researchers have done brain imaging on the section of the brain known as the Broca’s Area. Broca’s Area is essential for speech production, and it is shown to be active not only when we are speaking but also when we are gesticulating with our hands. Because gesturing often goes along naturally with talking, it is a great way to improve our brain function and thought processes to link the two together.
Try this great technique of linking gesturing with speech and watch how much clearer your thoughts become. A great tool!
4. Touch & Connect
Touch & Connect might sound like a new promotion for a USB device for your computer but rest assured it is not! While this one may make you a little bit nervous, touch is linked on a biological level to connection. It is an incredibly effective non-verbal cue.
In the professional world people often shake hands upon introduction, and its roots are based in this very primitive concept of touch and connection.
In a study done by Harvard University as little as 1/40 of a second of touch creates a human bond, and people are 2 times as likely to remember you if you make physical contact with them whether with a handshake or a touch on the arm, hand, or shoulder.
This tool can be used to connect professionally as well as personally. I know anytime I have had a disagreement with a partner or need to draw their attention back to positive, warm feelings, I will find a way to touch and connect with them. It is amazing how quickly you re-connect with simple touch.
5. Tone it Down
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6. Uncross Your Arms and Legs
I remember when I was young and went to Church watching all the ladies in the rows with their legs crossed, but little did I know this is a “low power position” and actually lowers the testosterone in your body. I often wonder if there isn’t more to this, young women are taught to sit with their legs crossed from a very early age.
Crossing your legs and arms is also a sign of defensiveness, being closed off and self- protective. The legs and arms indicate what the mind wants to and when they are crossed it means that the person is closed off and uncomfortable. Of course, if it’s a girl, it could just mean that you’re wearing a short skirt haha.
Any seasoned salesman will tell you that if they are pitching an idea or an item to a potential buyer you do not do so when the potential client has their arms and legs crossed. It is better to wait until they open up their body language as it signifies that the person is more open and ready to receive.
Thus if you want to have more successful conversations uncross your arms and legs, and watch people open up and feel more comfortable around you. You can also use this knowledge to your advantage and not approach someone with a matter of importance when they are “crossed”.
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We hope to hear from you in the comments section below. Don't forget to take advantage of our super sale and get my recent bestseller for only $2.99 by clicking here: SECRETS OF THE VOICE.