Imagine what you want the other person to feel.
So often we are thinking of how nervous or anxious or angry we are in tense situations. Sometimes it helps to think about the other person and how they feel now and how you would like them to feel as a result of interacting with you. To gain confidence and keep yourself from getting stressed in tense situations like arguments, job interviews, presentations or a first date, take the focus off yourself for a moment and imagine the emotions you want the other person or people to have about you and deliver the body language that elicits those emotions in the OTHER person.
Let's take the excitement example to help you learn this technique. Imagine you are talking to someone and you want the other person to feel excitement. For example, you can act out giving someone good news about your work, your product or your services or what you did over the weekend. Right now, imagine his or her body language as you share the information. Put the focus on them as you imagine it and try focusing on them as you speak.
Build confidence by moving and holding your body “UP!” If you follow me you know that I created the label UP! to describe all upward posture and movements and facial expressions such as, head held up, gestures with up motions. When we are happy our body naturally moves up and holds itself up.
When you hold or move your body the way you would like to feel the posture actually sends a message to the brain, “Hey I am feeling great, positive and up.” As you hold your body the little pharmacy in your brain starts producing the chemicals that match that state, (in as little as a 40th of a second.) and pumps them into your body and you begin to feel up. The combination of your up posture and movement up and chemical up state is felt by the interviewer. They start to give you attentive nonverbal cues and that makes you feel more confident. I call this the fake it till you make it technique. You only have to fake it for a fraction of a second before it actually effects how you feel.
Use lots of positive words when you speak.
When we use positive words we can alter how our brain functions by increasing cognitive reasoning and strengthening areas in our frontal lobes. Research shows that using positive words in your life more than negative ones can kick-start the motivational centers of the brain, propelling them to action. So think about the positive words you want people to feel and start sprinkling them into your conversations. I don't mean you need to say, "Awesome!" every few minutes but start peppering you speech with positive words.
Choose how YOU want to feel.
You chose a word that expresses how you want your listener to feel, then choose a word that expresses how YOU would like to feel in a particular situation and then get into a posture that matches it. So if your word is CONFIDENT you put your body in an open position, arms away from your body, legs uncrossed, shoulder back, heart forward, extending eye-contact for as long as three seconds, and make your voice go down at the end of sentences. By the way, we tend to tighten the vocal chords when we are tense and the high, sometimes screechy sound does not sound powerful so move up your body language but bring down your voice.
I shared this tip with one of my coaching clients and had him act out his word for a job interview. He chose the word Excitement. He smiled and laughed as he finished doing it. He said that he didn't feel excited in the moment before he started moving his body, he felt afraid. But he said, :"... when I did it was weird" "I brought my shoulders back and smiled and put some energy in my voice. I really did get excited" "It felt like I had just had a big cup of Starbucks."
Imagine you are confident and successful.
We tend to rehearse and practice our failure. Instead practice your success. Replace any negative thoughts and movies you have in your head about how you will be and how things will go with a new thought or movie. or example, replace the thought, “ I am going to mess this up and forget what to say" with your magic word. “I am going to be CONFIDENT and remember what I want to say.” If in your failure movie you look down and mumble, rehearse your new movie with your UP! body language and gestures and the listener nodding and smiling and loving you.
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Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com.