In every day life, the way you carry your posture and movement can have a dramatic impact on your communication.
This is true whether in business or in your personal life.
A stressful or challenging situation will impact your confidence. So, the desire to withdraw in on yourself when you feel threatened is strong.
If you’re a bit shy and timid, you may feel the urge to shrink into your seat and narrow your shoulders. Maybe put your chin down or direct your eyes to the floor. There’s every chance this is something you don’t notice yourself doing.
If this happens to you, before you’ve opened your mouth you’ve already told everyone, you have zero confidence in what you’re about to say. This is obviously not a good thing, and will have an effect on your career over time.
Many psychologists have tried to understand language in its many forms and most have different opinions.
The general understanding is that it can be split into three rough percentages. 55% of communication is body language, 38% is tone of voice, and staggeringly… 7% is the actual words spoken.
While these percentages are difficult to prove, and interchangeable depending on the circumstance, the advice below will give you three areas of improvement around body language.
Three tips that will directly impact your recruitment career.
1. Outward Impact
Your body language impacts how other people view you. This means that by being closed and negative, you’re actively doing yourself a disservice with how your audience views you. The worrying thing here is that body language makes a move before your words do. And it’s negative.
Making yourself big, in a power pose, says to others you’re confident and powerful. Which means, your audience prejudges you positively before you’ve spoken.
Try this with a colleague, a friend or maybe even your boss. Practice pulling your shoulders back, holding your head up high. Even if you’re feeling unconfident push yourself to think about how you’re viewed. The phrase “fake it until you make it” is a perfect representation of how pretending to be confident can affect your social standing in certain situations.
Even while sitting, you can implement these changes.
While extreme examples, the top row of pictures here shows confidence and power. Just by looking at these people, they seem overly strong before speaking. You’d be excused for assuming they were all in leadership roles.
The lower row is the same group of people. They’re closed in their body language. Once again, before speaking, you’ve assumed something about these people, and it’s probably not positive. They look like they’re in trouble or have deep lying worries.
2. Looking IN
Psychologists agree that non-verbal communication governs how others think and feel about us. What’s now becoming accepted however is that the same non-verbal communication in our everyday life can actually dictate how we feel about ourselves.
Therefore, making yourself big, with open and positive body language can have a direct impact on self-image and positivity. Looking at the animal kingdom provides examples of this in real life.
Think of a Gorilla thumping his chest in the jungle. It’s a symbol of power. A peacock spreading its feathers out to announce itself to a mate. A cobra faring its wings and rising up. Maybe even something a little closer to home, a domestic cat raising its back and tail when they become threatened or scared.
All of these actions impose a feeling of power in a potentially threatening situation. It relays the feelings to others, but also themselves.
When was the last time you saw a professional athlete shrink after scoring a goal, or winning a race? They do the opposite. They make themselves as big as possible. They’re smiling. Their chin raised, arms out, often leaping into the air.
Interestingly this is even true of people born without sight. Those who’ve never seen this in others will celebrate in the same way. It’s an inherent reaction of joy, celebration and power.
There are ways of fabricating this effect.
Practicing posing in the mirror for a period of 2 minutes before an interview, or a speech or business meeting can reinforce those powerful feelings and directly impact both yours and others perceptions or yourself.
It doesn’t just stop there however. One study suggests you’re likely to have an increased level of testosterone and lower level of cortisol. Two incredibly important hormones that affect your brain. While this study has been questioned recently, nothing’s for certain in this science, and it may be you can trick yourself into performing better.
3. Interview Preparation
Unless you have a wacky job title like Sourcing Ninja, you’re likely reading this as a Recruitment Consultant. And when ‘consulting’ with your network, the information herein is perfect to pass on to your candidates. They’ll stand a better chance of getting a job, and therefore there’s a better chance for you being successful.
This study by Amy Cuddy at Harvard University asked half a control group to make power poses in a mirror before a stressful interview, and another half not to.
Those judging had no knowledge of who had been instructed with good body language practice. But the results speak for themselves.
So, after you’ve nailed that PSL meeting and are feeling great about yourself from your improved posture and power posing, how about passing on the knowledge?
How many interviews turn into successful placements for you? One in three? One in five? Want better odds?
The advice above should be an instrumental part of your interview preparation to help candidates, and in turn help you.
Body language is such an important part of life. Taking small steps to improve yours will impact your life. Whether that’s your opinion of yourself, others’ opinion of you, or simply by helping you make more placements as a Recruitment Consultant and taking home more money at the end of the month.