Body language plays a key role in effective leadership communication.
1) To boost your confidence before an important meeting, replace your smart phone with a newspaper.
Most business professionals I coach understand the importance of projecting confident body language during an important meeting, a job interview, say, or a key sales pitch, but few realize that how they sit while waiting in the reception area has everything to do with their initial impression.
Research from Harvard and Columbia Business Schools shows that holding your body in expansive “high power” poses (standing tall with shoulders pulled back, widening your stance, spreading your arms to expand into space) raises testosterone (the hormone linked to power and self-confidence) and lowers the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. This hormonal effect is actually reversed, the researchers discovered, when you contract yourself physically, (hunch your shoulders, tuck your chin down, etc.) assuming postures that make you look defensive and lacking in confidence.
To make a difficult task seem easier, smile.
Charles Garfield, the author of Peak Performance, once coached the Russian Olympic weight-lifting team. Garfield noticed that when team members lifted to exhaustion, they would invariably grimace at the painful effort. In an experiment, he encouraged the athletes to smile when they got to that point of exhaustion. This seemingly minor difference enabled them to add 2-3 more reps to their performance.
No matter the task, when you grimace or frown while doing it, you are sending your brain the message, “This is really difficult. I should stop.” The brain then responds by sending stress chemicals into your bloodstream. And this creates a vicious circle: the more stressed you are, the more difficult the task becomes.
Conversely, when you smile, your brain gets the message, “It’s not so bad. I can do this!”