Our emotions play a huge role in how we communicate and how our message is received. To a large extent, our communication is driven by how we think and feel in the moment. Our emotions and body language are highly interconnected. We express our emotions through our body language, often on a subconscious level.
Not surprisingly, our nonverbal communication impacts our audience more than what we say or how we say it. Awareness of how our emotions and body language are related is the first step in making small changes that can positively affect how we are perceived and received by our audience.
Recent research from Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and professor at Harvard University focuses on linking our body language to our hormone levels and our feelings, which ultimately drives our behavior. Her research shows that when body postures are open and expanding, testosterone (dominance hormone) goes up, and cortisol (stress hormone) goes down. And conversely, when we are stressed, we make ourselves smaller by crossing our arms and legs or touch our neck or face. This causes our testosterone to decrease and our cortisol to rise. Cuddy proposes, based on her research, that expanding our bodies for as little as two minutes increases our testosterone and lowers cortisol (stress hormone) levels, conveys competence and power, and causes us to perform better in job interviews, and in public speaking. Power posing will configure our brains to cope well in stressful situations.
Who knew that such a minor tweak with our body language could produce such powerful results?