While perusing AFB CareerConnect, you’ll find ample information on using intentional body language as a person who is blind or visually impaired; you’ll even find resources for teaching effective nonverbal communication . We recognize its use presents you as assertive, approachable, and capable.
So yes, you know assertive body language conveys you as accomplished and qualified to others, but are you aware of the effects of assertive body language to your own psyche? Dr. Amy Cuddy, a Harvard professor, studied this very topic and uncovered astonishing results. When you sit or stand assertively, described as allowing your body to take up space instead of shrinking inward when folding arms, crossing legs, or hanging your head downward, your body physiologically changes to a more confident and comfortable zone.
Feeling stressed? About to speak publicly? Preparing for a job interview? If so, you’ll appreciate this information from Harvard’s website:
Cuddy’s recent work focuses on how we embody and express competence and warmth, linking our body language to our feelings, physiology, and behavior. Her latest research illuminates how “faking” body postures that convey competence and power (“power posing”) – even for as little as two minutes — changes our testosterone and cortisol levels, increases our appetite for risk, causes us to perform better in job interviews, and generally configures our brains to cope well in stressful situations.
Strike yourself a “power pose” in your office for a few minutes before talking with a supervisor on a nerve-wracking issue. Sit or stand with your legs in a comfortably wide stance; correct any hunched posture; hold your head upright, allowing your chin to lead; hang your arms to the side of your body, place your hands on your hips, or clasp your hands, fingers intertwined, behind your head. Act like you own the place with your body language. Dr. Cuddy’s work affirms you’ll feel more up for the challenge.
To learn more about the subject, listen to Dr. Cuddy’s TED talk: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. She provides several photographs of power poses and weak body language that I do wish were verbally described. However, the concepts are clear and the results are powerful.