There is an old saying, “Fake it till you make it” when you encounter a high stress situation or environment where you will be judged on first impressions. The suggestion in the old saying is that you move forward in an encounter, even when you may feel overwhelmed or unsure of yourself. Communication is both verbal and non-verbal in personal encounters. We are all assessed by others within the first few seconds of an encounter. This is particularly true in first time meetings. Our non-verbal communication governs how others feel about us, and then how receptive they are to our verbal messaging. New research seems to confirm that the old adage is actually sound advice.
Our minds and bodies interact and influence each other in both directions. The body creates chemicals both in response to physical positions and movement, as well as receiving cues from the thought and emotional process. The hormones, Testosterone and Cortisol have a lot to do with our sense of confidence or our feelings of stress. Testosterone is released into the body giving more confidence and assertiveness, while Cortisol is the stress reducing hormone that makes us withdraw into a self-preservation mode. These hormones respond to our body language and influence our thinking and emotions.
The body will naturally produce Testosterone when you use what researchers call “power poses”. These are the open stances that you will see Olympic athletes take when they have won a race, or when someone is feeling the most confident during a personal encounter. The amazing thing is that if you assume one of these stances for a period of 2 minutes that is enough time to produce testosterone which in turn gives you naturally induced confidence. On the other hand, if we withdraw into a closed stance or a “submissive pose”, our stress levels are reduced and we signal submission and surrender.
Before you enter a job interview, or a social encounter that requires an air of confidence, remember to take a couple of minutes in private and assume a “power pose” to build your hormone levels, and thus put your non-verbal signals and your thoughts into their peak performance. Despite whatever fears you may be encountering in your mind…they can be dealt with by fooling your brain into a confident frame of mind.
So, according to research into non-verbal communication the new saying should be, “Fake it till you create it” because in truth, that is what happens.