Know the “Power Posture”
When you open up your body, you not only occupy more space, your confidence level gets a major boost. A recent study conducted by Amy Cuddy and her colleagues from Harvard Business School, shows that open postures reflect high power and closed postures reflect low power. Not only do these postures reflect power, it goes a step beyond. It produces it. Spending time in a power pose increases testosterone, risk taking, pain tolerance, and belief in one’s own leadership abilities. Additionally, it opens up your breathing, calms your nerve and gets you prepared. Next time you are are interacting with the attendees at a trade show or any event that you might host, open up your posture for enhanced cognitive functioning that clearly boost your speech quality and makes you considerably captivating and enthusiastic!
“We found two minutes in a power pose—arms and legs stretched out—spikes a person’s testosterone and drops their cortisol. It works for both genders. It’s the ratio that’s important.”
Avoid Handheld Devices
Yes, I know ipads and notebooks are all the rave in the exhibiting industry. But guess what? The size of your presentation device matters. It has unintended consequences on your mood and your level of confidence. Be aware: when using an iPad or digital tablet, your posture automatically gets contracted. In the same study, Maarten Bos and Amy Cuddy found that people were more likely to be assertive after spending time in a more open posture using a laptop or desktop computer compared with in a constricted posture using a tablet or a phone-sized device. Avoid using handheld devices as a means of presentation at all cost. It might be cool and trendy but it heightens your anxiety level. Instead, use an iPad as a medium for self entertainment for your visitors. Before a presentation or meeting, spend some time away from the phone or tablet. The lack of distractions will help you gain focus and organize your thoughts and will arm you with confidence and composure.
Mind Your Facial Expressions
“The face is like a switch on a railroad track. It affects the trajectory of the social interaction the way the switch would affect the path of the train.” Fridlund, A.
If you spend hours frowning and focusing on a computer screen, “it’s likely that prolonged negative facial expression will have an effect on your mood and the perceptions others have of you.” Find a mirror and “reset” your expression before you go out there meeting your clients and prospects.
The way we stand, the way we walk, the way we sit and the expression that we wear on our face vastly affects our mood and our behavior. Spending time deliberately smiling can help you feel more positive. Research shows that lowering the pitch of your voice makes you feel more powerful and think more abstractly. Moral of the story: act as if the world is your oyster.
Feel happy and confident and it’s very likely you will actually start to feel more happy and confident. Richard Wiseman calls this the “as if” principle – behave as if you feel happy and confident.
Gesture As You Talk
By externalizing your thought process in the form of hand gestures, you actually take the load off your brain. Susan Goldin-Meadow at the University of Chicago and her colleagues say that “gesturing probably makes the math part of the task less mentally taxing by externalizing and visualizing relevant information, thereby freeing up cognitive resources for the memory challenge.” Research shows that presenters are perceived as more competent when they make hand gestures compared with when they keep their hands still. “Like tone, volume, and pacing of your speech, gestures are another tool to punctuate what you’re saying. Gestures can also help the audience understand and remember what you said. The key thing here is to ensure your gestures are meaningfully related to what you’re saying, and not just random hand flapping.”
Non-verbal tools like posture, facial expression, body movement and gestures play a vital role when we are staffing our booths and when we have been tasked to deliver some awesome presentations. “The speaker who stands and talks at ease is the one who can be heard without weariness. If his posture and gestures are so graceful and unobtrusive that no one notices them, he may be counted truly successful,” says Dr. Ralph C. Smedley.
Next time you are facing a challenging moment, “open up your posture, stand tall, talk strong, gesticulate – act as if you are in control – and your wishful thinking may just become reality.”