The extent to which you engage a prospect and close a sale is directly tied to your confident body language. You already know that shifty eyes and a dead-fish handshake will work against you. But what you might not know is how much your physical stance and body language can change how YOU feel and how, in turn, your prospect feels about you.
But that confident body language doesn’t start the moment you walk in the room, and in fact you can change how strong you feel in just a few minutes—by changing your body language first.
In her what is one of the most-viewed TED talks of all time, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are,” social psychologist Amy Cuddy changed the way we see the power of our own posture. Because while we know the effect confident body language has on other people, what she and her team tested is what effect that body language has on the way we see ourselves.
What two minutes can do to your confidence
Cuddy and her team had study participants adopt either a high-power pose (which would be confident body language, in which you take up more space—hands on hips, chin up, chest out, seated or standing), or a low-power pose (in which they were withdrawn and collapsed in on themselves, appearing smaller and weaker).
Based on a saliva test, researchers found that those who adopted high-power body language for a mere two minutes had significantly higher testosterone levels and lower cortisol levels. And that’s the goal—in life as well as sales—to feel more in control and powerful, and less stress reactive.
Use your body to change your mind
Before you head into a sales meeting or negotiation—or start to rally your own team, try this to boost your confident body language:
- Take some time alone. The power poses Cuddy recommends aren’t about how to act in front of someone else (please do not put your feet up on anyone’s desk!).
- If you are seated, put your feet up on your own desk if you wish, or set your feet apart, and fold your arms behind your head, opening up your posture to appear bigger.
- Stand with feet apart, shoulders broad, and hands on hips and feel the power of that pose. It actually is triggering hormonal changes in your body that will change the way you connect with and influence other people.
(Read more about Amy’s findings in this piece featured in the New York Times.)