From a basic neurological/anthropological perspective, human beings are hardwired to live with, learn from and grow in relation to one another. In this capacity, we are distinctly social creatures and it is our ability to connect on a deeply limbic level that allows us to survive…and communicate.
Whether your work entails internal meetings, check-ins with superiors, pitches in front of potential investors, clients or employers, it is important to be aware of your audience. In traditional workplaces, where your performance is not always determined by a specific moment in time, the identification of a fixed audience is slightly less clear. In my mind, there are two main types of performances you might find yourself in at work.
One of the most common questions I get from clients, is whether the myths of body language mimicry are true. Can you really influence someone by mirroring their body language and posturing?
Think about the last time you met someone for the first time. How long did it take for you to form an impression of them? As much as we may like to think of ourselves as non-judgmental and open individuals, our brains are hardwired to make very quick, snap judgments of people almost instantaneously. For thousands of years, it has been a matter of survival to be able to quickly identify if someone, or something, is friend or foe.
An interesting thing happens to your body when you are experiencing moments of happiness, celebration and pride. Simply, you take up more space. I begin all of my programs by coaching people through what I call an ‘anchor posture’. This is essentially a neutral posture that isn’t overly aggressive, but which encourages individuals to stand tall and wide, filling out their unique physical framework.
For clients of CFB, there are a number of key takeaways which serve as both reminders and measurements of progress. The one takeaway which resonates most with my clients is what I call the 'connection to the floor'.
Beware the dreaded i-hump. It’s a thing. And I am not just speaking about the physical burden of wisdom that seems to come with years of walking this earth, but a serious epidemic that is causing even our youth to develop a rounding of the back of the neck and shoulder areas.
You've all heard it - the eyes are windows to the soul. You've probably also heard 'eye contact' being thrown around as a tip for public speaking and engaging with people....well, that advice is only part of the story.
As with many things in life, in order to draw helpful insight out of an observation, you have to first understand the context. In analyzing nonverbal cues, context is one of the most important factors. Without taking context into consideration, a single gesture or posture can take on a variety of distinct meanings.
Think of the last time you went to a restaurant. What did you think when you first walked in? How did you feel? Were you greeted with a smile and an open gesture of welcome? Or were you left to figure out where to go and with whom to speak with first?
The topic of confidence is relevant to everyone. Everyone wants more of it - even the most seemingly confident person out there. Where does the body come in? What does a confident person look like and can you make yourself appear more confident by posturing in a certain way?
When asked this question, most people answer 'body language'. This is correct. But there is more. As other nonverbal experts like Joe Navarro and .... mention, body language is an important part, but only one part of the full nonverbal landscape.
When it comes to body language, and first impressions in particular, I have found that posture is an obvious and powerful message transmitter. Picture this: an individual walks into a room with 'good posture', aka standing up tall, their head aligned with their necks, shoulders open and feet pointing in the same direction as their hips and knees. The snap perception is one of confidence, control and self-assurance.