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The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want With Body Language


If conference calls and even Skype conversations never feel quite the same as sitting in a room with someone, it’s because we communicate a vast amount of extra information with every part of our bodies, from the arch of our eyebrows to the movements of our feet. Researchers have devoted a lot of time to studying body language, and Quartz turned to some academic papers to compile these explanations about the impact of various body positions.

1. While expansive and open postures suggest power and confidence…

A 2010 paper by Columbia University’s Dana Carney and her colleagues looked at what people infer about your social power from your body language. It found that people considered more powerful speak faster; interrupt more; have more vocal pitch variation and more relaxed voice; have lowered brows; nod more; and use more hand gestures. In addition, “high-power individuals were believed to have more erect posture, lean forward more, have open body position, and orient their body towards the other.” To express high power you should also avoid touching yourself, whether to scratch your head or just to quickly sort out your hair.

2. …and can even lower your levels of stress…

Testosterone and cortisol are some of the hormones most affected by posture—and they are both affect your mood too. Both men and women who spend more time in “power poses” such as the one described above can decrease their cortisol levels and increase their testosterone levels (pdf), according to a 2010 paper by Carney and another group of colleagues. Combined, this means that you will be more attentive, while also being less stressed. Here are the two power poses that the researchers used in their test:

Read more at Quartz.

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