“What body language does convey, with pretty good accuracy, is our emotional intent. In fact, brain research shows that whatever we’re feeling first shows up in our body, and only later (nanoseconds later) in our conscious minds.” – Forbes
The art of body language is something that seems so subtle, but impacts how the message is perceived. It is quite literally the language of your body, which affects how others see us. Psychologists speak often about how it might also change how we see ourselves.
How you say something is often more important than what you say.
The psychology of body language
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing”, which is when you pose in a posture of confidence, can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain – which might even have an impact on our chances for success.
Check out Amy Cuddy's TED Talk right here.
Here are 5 bad body language habits that you need to be aware of, and start to eliminate.
Terrible slouching habits can develop easily, especially if you’re attached to a laptop all day. It’s so easy to slouch in your chair to attempt to alleviate back pains—but what is it saying about you professionally isn’t necessarily a good thing.
According to Psychology Today, slouching is “also bad for your back—improve your health and the image you present to the world by standing up straight.”
Awkward (or no) eye contact
Eye contact is a delicate balance to strike. Keeping your eyes locked into someone else's without blinking makes you seem like you’re auditioning for the killer in a horror movie, but not enough makes it seem like you’re disinterested. It’s okay to break eye contact—but aim to strike a balance.
There is nothing worse than speaking to someone who looks like they would rather be in a million other places. Give someone your full attention—put the smartphone down! While you're speaking, practice active listening and strive to fully understand what is being said, instead of just listening to respond.
Verbal and non-verbal disconnect
One of the most infamous verbal and non-verbal disconnects of all time is when former President Bill Clinton made a speech about how he did not have an affair. Psychologists pick apart the video by pointing out the clear disconnect between how his body language did not reflect what was coming out of his mouth.
Telling the truth and remaining genuine when you speak will help keep this positive connection.
Smiling is the universal language that demonstrates confidence, openness, warmth, and energy. Radio DJ’s are taught to smile as they speak because it gives a more comforting sense to the audience and they can feel that coming through the microphone. Greet people warmly, and use your smile often.