The Value of Body Language
Hey Ladies . . .
DO YOU KNOW YOUR VALUE?
A friend and I recently attended the “Know Your Value Conference” in NYC – it was hosted by Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and founder of Know Your Value. The conference is meant to enrich the lives of women and help them learn to own their power and grow their value – important stuff! The topics included Negotiation and Promotion, Financial Health, Emotional Health, Physical Health, and more.
I will admit, at first I thought the show was a little glitzy compared to other motivational conferences I have attended where the focus has been more on spirituality and inner healing. The presenter list included Martha Stewart, makeup artist Bobbi Brown, Jane Pauley, and Sarah Jessica Parker (love, love, love Sex & the City) just to name a few . . . remember, it was NYC!
BUT, the presenter that moved me the most was someone I had never heard of . . . Janine Driver, the author of You Say More Than You Think, which is a book about body language. If you knew me better, you would know that I am totally obsessed with books and learning. So when I was perusing the book table before the conference, Janine’s book spoke to me and I purchased it on the spot! Little did I know, a few hours later I would meet her in person, get my book signed, and compare notes about our 12-year-old complex boys – this all took place BEFORE I heard her talk.
Janine’s presentation was funny, powerful, energetic, and emotional. “Wow,” you must be thinking – “really, all that, and she was just talking about body language?” Well, by listening to her talk, I realized that my body language has been holding me back from owning my power.
Are you aware of your body language? Do you know how your body language affects the responses of others?
The good news is you can start implementing positive and effective body language techniques immediately. Challenge yourself to try out the different body language tips below and observe how people respond to you.
So there is the usual “Wonder Woman” hands-on-hips pose and the power steeple (you see this one on “Shark Tank”), but I am going to challenge you to look farther than the pose and notice how you respond when you see other people taking these poses. Notice the stances of women CEOs, politicians, and other powerful business women and entertainers. See mine above taken at the conference.
Homework: Have a friend take pictures of you in the various poses – see which one you like the best and start using it!
This one became famous during one of the presidential debates when Hillary Clinton reacted by smiling, closing her eyes, and shimmy-shaking back and forth. But did you know that shaking your body is a simple yet powerful Qigong technique? Next time someone ruffles your feathers do what Taylor Swift says and, “Shake it off!”
Homework: Next time you are stressed or emotionally overwhelmed, find a private spot, ground your feet, and start moving your body from head to toe for 1-2 minutes.
Be the first to reach out for the handshake (hands side to side). You can make a positive impression by facing the person – belly button facing the person you are shaking hands with, not just your face and upper body. Also, hand placement on the top portrays power while the hand on the bottom implies weakness. If someone does a power play on you and shakes with their hand on top, you can come back with a “hand hug,” meaning you cover the top hand with your hand.
Homework: Practice a variety of handshakes with people you meet – notice the response when you face and shake vs the shake that is not fully engaged.
The Shoulder Shrug
The Shoulder Shrug means I’m not sure of myself – DON’T SHRUG YOUR SHOULDERS!!! This is one body move women tend to do that totally takes their power away. Janine shared the story of her mother who was diagnosed with cancer and only a year to live. The video she showed was of her mother holding a rock over her head, saying “This is cancer,” and throwing it into the ocean. When Janine asked her mom to yell, “This year is all about me” . . . well, her mom threw the rock, looked into the camera, and said, “I guess this year is all about me,” then shrugged her shoulders. Janine had her say it over and over again until she said it like she meant it with NO shoulder shrug. She also had her mother practice a variety of positive body language techniques. Her mother outlived her diagnosis and was with her for three more years.
Homework: Catch yourself when you are getting ready to shrug your shoulders and STOP! If you have a hard time with this one, start by being more aware of the situations in which you shrug.
Start making positive changes to your body language today – it can help enhance your social life, relationships, and professional career. And, if all else fails, “Shake it off!”