Powerful Nonverbal Communication

Do you tell people that you are powerful…or do you show them?

The most important communication you make each day doesn’t depend on what you say as much as it how you appear when you say it. Even the brightest minds can fail to reach success if they have horrible nonverbal communication. Unless you’re counting on finding the rare blind interviewer, it’s therefore important you not only practice the words you’ll use to respond, but also how you’ll physically present yourself. By the time you have entered the room, shook hands, and sat down, the interviewer already has a preconceived perception of you based nearly entirely off of nonverbal communications.

There are several ways we display nonverbal communication, but for the sake of brevity I’m going to focus on posture. The days of old involving children being taught to balance books on their head or slapped on the wrist if not sitting up straight in their desks is over. While these methods may seem infeasible (perhaps they could balance their iPads instead?) or inhumane in today’s world, posture is largely overlooked in our society. Why?

The effects of having good posture not only make you appear stronger to others, but it actually makes you feel more confident in yourself. According to a study by Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy, powerful “poses” (stances with arms and legs stretched out) have a positive effect on even your own self-perception.

“One of our recent studies put people in either high- or low-power poses for a few minutes as they prepared to give a presentation in front of a panel of judges. The power posers came across as more enthusiastic and competent, even though they weren’t posing during the speech. It seems the posing primed their brains to perform well. So if it’s a phone interview, close the door and put your feet up on the desk. If you can’t do that, find somewhere to stretch. A lot of students write and say, “I went to a bathroom stall, closed the door, stood on my toes, spread my feet, reached my arms out, put my shoulders back, and lifted my chin.”

From Wired

So even before you enter the interview, you’ll want to begin your nonverbal communication. Instead of hunching over in the lobby chair reading a magazine while you wait, sit tall with your head high, as it’ll help prepare you mentally for the interview.

Maybe you’re like 90 percent of the world out there and are unaware of your posture. Here are some things to avoid:

  • Forward head
  • Rounded shoulders
  • Arched lower back
  • Excessive anterior pelvic tilt (protruding backside)
  • Excessive posterior pelvic tilt (protruding abdomen/pelvis)

Not only will good posture make you appear stronger and more confident, but it will likely save you from the back pain you see crippling so many of your office coworkers. Yoga is also great for posture, as well as any type of core-strengthening exercise. Also, for men, sitting on your wallet can really mess with your posture and lead to back pain as well. Try taking it out before you sit down.

View this on WallStreetOasis here.


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