“Don’t fake it until you make it, fake it until you become it.” – Amy Cuddy
I find body language fascinating. No matter what verbal language you speak, where you were brought up, or what your personality is like, we all react to basic stimuli the same way. No matter what we try to say with our words, our non-verbals (the word used by social scientists for body language) usually speak much louder. For some, catching non-verbal cues comes very naturally with little effort, for others, this skill needs to be worked on. When I was younger I was a very quiet kid, I had a few close friends but I ended up doing a lot of observing, I also got very good at figuring out what certain non-verbals look like and what they mean. I have always really enjoyed observing people and their interactions with others.
Amy Cuddy has a TED talk called “Your body language shapes who you are.” She is a social scientist who spent time observing students in an MBA classroom and conducted an experiment on body language during an interview. What she found was that the people who were told to hold “power poses,” or traditionally dominant poses, ended the interview showing, chemically, that they were more confident and less stressed. This evidence led her to the statement at the beginning of this blog. I find this statement to be very powerful and has the potential to be life changing. Only having to change how you sit and how your arms/legs are positioned? Sounds like something I can do in my everyday life.
I think that having confidence in the classroom affects how the students respond to you. If you act like you know what you’re talking about, the children are going to listen to you. I also think that when you are confident then your students will pick up on that and become more confident in themselves. You being a role model in their lives is huge. Many times, people don’t realize that they are being watched and in some cases imitated. Sometimes it isn’t a bad thing but if you portray yourself in a passive manner they will think that that is how you’re supposed to act all the time. My personal belief is that there is no reason to be showing passive non-verbals, you can give up some of your power and be able to compromise without people walking all over you and taking advantage of you.