Positive body language is often seen as the effect of self-confidence. But it can also be the other way around.
According to social psychologist Amy Cuddy, people experience a boost in self-esteem when they change their body language. Use the benefits of positive body language to your advantage in preparing for a presentation. Having a higher level of confidence in yourself before presenting drives away lingering anxiety. It also helps you focus on your delivery.
The next time you feel anxious before a presentation, try the following:
1. Victory Pose
Experts agree that posing with expansive gestures and a widened stance increases your confidence. Taking off from Cuddy’s discussion of body language, whenever you “open up” for this pose, your testosterone levels rise, increasing your feelings of dominance and assertiveness.
On the other hand, it also reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. Before facing your audience, seek out a private space and practice your victory pose. Straighten your back and push your shoulders back while keeping your head up and raise your arms in a “V” shape.
2. Tense up
While it may seem counterintuitive, tensing up beforehand can actually increase your willpower. Studies show that keeping muscles firm allows you to endure pain and other unpleasant feelings longer than someone who doesn’t.
Aside from the victory pose, this technique comes in handy during an extreme case of stage fright. It will strengthen your resolve to push through with your presentation.
3. Cross your Arms
When you feel like you’re running out of ideas, try crossing your arms first. This gesture increases persistence and pushes you to think up better solutions to your problems.
In a study published in the European Journal of Psychology by Roy Friedman and his colleagues, university students were tested with the hypothesis. Those who crossed their arms managed to last longer through difficult anagrams. In comparison, students whose hands remained on their lap lasted for a shorter period of time. Similar to tensing up your muscles, crossing your arms is also an act of tightening, which is associated with energizing oneself.
As an example, think of how persistent a child whose arms are crossed can be against direct commands. Applying that for a positive purpose, persevere through your pre-presentation hurdles by crossing your arms. To help you last through a tough mental block for a presentation concept, cross your arms through it.
Body language isn’t just an indicator of how you feel, it can also be a catalyst in changing how you see yourself. Practice positive body language not just on your actual presentation, but also while preparing for it. You’ll be more likely to feel better about yourself and think of better ideas.
Doing a victory pose before a presentation helps you imbibe and radiate confidence to your intended audience. Tensing up during preparation allows you to withstand stress and fight your anxieties. In the same way, crossing your arms gives you the patience to come up with ideas for your presentation.
Use body language to your advantage and let it boost your self-esteem whenever you experience presentation jitters. Need help with your presentation? Contact our SlideGenius experts and get a free quote today!
“10 Simple Postures That Boost Performance.” PsyBlog. March 11, 2011. Accessed October 6, 2015. www.spring.org.uk/2011/03/10-simple-postures-that-boost-performance.php
Friedman, R., Elliot, A.J. (2008). The effect of arm crossing on persistence and performance. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38(3), 449-461. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.444
Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. Amy Cuddy. TEDGlobal, 2012. Accessed October 6, 2015. www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en
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