The Impact Of Body Language On Success

The Impact Of Body Language On Success

Most people believe that success is a function of brainpower—that intelligent people either are now or will be successful at something in life.

The truth is that success is a result of many different variables, and recent studies have shown that a good brain is not the only key to achievement. Your body language also plays a significant role in helping you grab the brass ring, and there’s science to back this up.

The Science Of Body Language

In a recent Huffington Post article, Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, discussed a study done by Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy on the impact of body language on success. Cuddy showed that “people who use positive body language are more likable, competent, persuasive, and emotionally intelligent.”

Positive body language includes any targeted gestures that help get your message across, such as eye contact and body stance.

Cuddy found that the right body language actually affects your hormones, making you feel more confident. It also helps you appear more likable and competent to the person or group you’re dealing with and has a powerful role around influencing the attitudes of others. Finally, improving your body language helps you to more effectively share your emotions and ideas with others.

Examples Of Positive Body Positions

The site describes some kinds of body language that can help take you from negative and scared to positive and confident.

Open Up – Known as the “Power Posture,” this is standing with your feet wide apart and your hands on your hips or spread apart on a table in front of you. Spending time in this pose “increases testosterone, risk taking, pain tolerance, and belief in one’s own leadership abilities.” It also helps you to breathe better, which can calm shaky nerves.

Smile – Spending time deliberately smiling can help you to feel more positive and trigger positive memories, says the article. Turning your frown upside down is more than just a cute way to get kids to smile. It will give you more confidence.

Use Gestures – Just make sure they’re well-related to what you’re saying. Some studies proved that presenters were viewed as more effective and competent when they used hand gestures versus immobile hands and arms.


Any of these can give you an edge in negotiations or presentations by making you feel more confident and relaxed. You can even do them before and during a phone call or web conference.

The Importance For Women

Santa Monica College published an article describing body poses that women in particular should avoid because they send the wrong messages and can interfere with success. These include crossing your ankles while standing, tilting your head, “shy” or flirty glances, and mannerisms that broadcast nervousness such as playing with hair or fidgeting. Read the full article for more.

Changing your body position will change how you feel, which can be more effective than your brain in attaining the life you desire.


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