Featured Author

Carrie Villani

Director of Marketing

Leslie E. Robertson Associates

Carrie Villani_72dpi_150x200
  • Chair, SMPS-NY Coordinators Club
What does your body language say about you? Whether you intend to make a statement or not, your gestures, mannerisms, posture and movements are all speaking volumes for you. As a scholarship winner to attend the Commercial Real Estate Women CREW Network Convention held in New York City October 19-22, I was privileged to see top Social psychologist Amy Cuddy present on Presence, Posture and Body Language. The overall message of Amy’s presentation was that our nonverbal presentation is as strong or stronger than our words. The power of our poses was easy to see by showcasing imagery of depressed, withdrawn people contrasted with celebrating, excited people. Our body language is a powerful communication tool we all possess; it is time to maximize our message by incorporating some of the following tips.
    1. PostureWe all know it’s important, but do you check it regularly? Make it a habit to practice good posture, lengthen your spine and hold your head up high. Regardless of whether you are sitting or standing, your posture matters. With good posture, you will feel better and look like the leader you are. One of Amy’s go to sayings is “Fake it until you become it”. She displayed a heartwarming video of a horse with severe social and health problems. The trainer was able to resolve these issues through therapy that gave the horse the posture of a healthy horse. The revived horse is now the alpha of the group, racing faster and galloping higher that all the others. Give yourself the posture of a leader and become that leader.
    1. PresenceBelieving in yourself with confidence (not arrogance) will give you an intrinsic power. Do not worry about past moments or what is to come in the future. Be present in the moment that is now. When you are distracted you are never at your best. If you are out networking, participating in a meeting, or watching a live event, you will get so much more out of your time and experience if you fully commit to it. We have all met that person, or been that person who is just not holding up their end of the conversation and seems to be waiting for something better. Don’t be this person; engage with the here and now with 100% commitment. Being present helps people to trust you. Amy says to believe in what you are selling, if you don’t believe it how can anyone else?
  1. ExpandBody language follows two forms, expansion or contraction. Arms crossed over the body, slouching and legs twisted together are all types of contraction that indicate meekness, uncertainty and lack of strength. Confident posture and a natural smile indicate power and strength. Watch athletes as they achieve success. The victory pose is universal and absolutely empowering. Amy recommends throwing the victory pose before an interview (or presentation) to get your body in a victorious mindset. Do this in private out of sight of your interviewer. Your blood will be flowing, your mind engaged and your confidence soaring.
  Resources Watch Amy Cuddy for yourself. Her TED talk Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are is the Top 2 most watched TED Talk with over 34 million views. WOW! Why do we laugh in awkward social situations? “The Fake Laugh” a recent article in The New York Times by Kate Murphy gives a fascinating overview into this expressive human phenomenon. Laughter originally meant “We’re not going to kill each other! What a relief!” Laughter is certainly a key element of our body language. Understanding more about fake or reflexive laughter, what it means and when to avoid it can help you to be more honest and present. Let’s talk politics! Politicians receive expert advice in how to display their messages through body language. Some excel at this and others clearly fail. One of the most interesting things about the recent presidential debates has been to watch the body language of the candidates. You clearly don’t even need to listen to the words to understand what is going on! In the article “No Need to Rise at a de Blasio News Conference: He Will Be Sitting, Too” in the New York Times, J. David Goodman discusses the New York Mayor’s practice of sitting at a table of peers rather than standing solely at a podium during city press conferences. De Blasio is a very tall man, but positions himself as one of the people. His sitting stance enables a more democratic view and engages the power of those around him instead of belittling them.