How to Look Charismatic
We talked about how to sound charismatic with our words but how do we look charismatic with our body language? I'm a mega fan, super fan of honorable and body language. I've always known body language Is powerful, I just didn't know how. So just to briefly kick us off with some research. So, research finds about 60 to 90% of our communication is nonverbal. That is a huge range but what's important about that is it's the majority. I think that we tend to put all of our eggs in the verbal basket. We practice our pitch, we practice our presentation but actually our nonverbal communication is helping our ideas. Remember helping bring the gasoline to our ideas and helping them come along. I think that when we think about how we wanna communicate our ideas how we say our ideas are just important as what we say. The question is, what do we do with our body language to support our ideas? I wanna give a good example of this in action. Whenever I teach 60, 90% it doesn't actuall...
y feel like it's real. So verbal, I'm so happy for you. Very clear, right, this verbal. But what if I were to say, "I'm so happy for you?" You are much more likely to believe my face and my voice tone over the verbal or this one I hear, this is very clear verbally. She's so nice. What if I were to say, she is so nice, right? You are not gonna believe the words that I say. You put more emphasis on my face and my voice. Or this one. Oh, okay friends, we have to go on a, I'm so happy to be here, diet especially if it's not set authentically I cannot tell you how many times I've heard someone hop on a Zoom call or hop on stage and say, I'm so happy to be here or I'm so happy to be here, let's get started. The problem is, is while the words mean one thing your face, your voice and your body says another. And so, the goal here is for us to get congruent. And I have to kick us off with little experiment we did on Shark Tank. So I love Shark Tank. If you dunno the show, this is a fantastic show where entrepreneurs come into a Shark Tank and they pitch a panel of investors called Sharks. And those Sharks are able to then invest their own money in their favorite deals. What I love about Shark Tank is all these ideas are good. So everyone who comes to the tank has a good idea. The question is, why do some ideas get investment, literally Sharks putting in their own money and others don't? And so I partnered with my research partner, Jose Pena and he analyzed 495 Shark Tank pitches. Yes, this took months and months of data. We were looking at a variety of variables, pretty much everything we could think of. So we were looking at gestures. We were looking at pitch. We were looking at verbal content. We were looking at excitement, we were looking at touch. We watched that grand entrance looking for patterns. Why is it that some Sharks or some entrepreneurs walk into the tank and you immediately are interested in their idea, whereas other entrepreneurs walk into the tank and you think, hmm, not for me? Were there patterns beyond just the words? So here's what we found. I was able to put all this in my book cues, but I wanna give you some of my favorites, my highlights. The very first thing we noticed is the most successful entrepreneurs used lots and lots and lots and lots of hand gestures. Oh my goodness. It was like they were speaking on two different tracks. They were speaking with their hands along with their words. What we think was happening here is these Sharks here pitch after pitch, right? They're there all day listening to tons of different ideas. This is pretty similar to us on our daily basis too. I don't know about you but I often have back to back to back video calls. By the end of the day, I am so burnt out, I can barely pay attention to what's coming at me. We think that what happened was is that the really successful charismatic entrepreneurs were using their gestures to be an extra layer of information. Specifically, they were using their gestures for trust. Now, research is very clear on this. This is one of my favorite research experiments. I talked a lot about it in my TED Talk, if you watch that, which is that our hands are our trust indicators. They are an essential component of warmth. So, something funny happens. If I were to put my hands behind my back. Now imagine that if I gave this entire class with my hands behind my back or my hands in my pocket, after a while, not only would you be sort of tired of listening to my words, you would start to wonder what are her hands doing back there? Can she just take her hands out from behind her back? And that is because when my hands are behind my back, your amygdala begins to light up. It's where you process threats or fear. When we can see someone's hands and the moment I bring my hands back out, your brain is like, whew, I can see intention. And that's because our hands are intention givers. We look to someone's hand to see, are we gonna get a handshake? Are we gonna get a high five? Are we gonna get a wave across the room? The very best entrepreneurs on Shark Tank were immediately handsy. They immediately show their hands. The very best pitches typically they had that kind of long hallway, right? Where they walk down the hallway and they'd walk out and they'd take their mark on the carpet. And they would say, "Hey Sharks, good morning." With some kind of nonverbal gesture. They might even wave or point towards a Shark. They might gesture towards a Shark, immediately signaling, you can trust me, you can trust me, you can trust me. The moment we see someone's hands, we think, ah, and this brings me to my very second cue, visible, acknowledging hands help people trust you. We love to see hands whether you're hopping on a video call. Hey everyone, nice to see ya, good morning. Whether you're walking into a room. Hey, hi, good morning, how are you? Good to see you. Whether you're greeting someone across a crowded bar, Hey John, John, do you see me, right? We like to see those hands gestures. We like to see people acknowledge us with their hands. And that is cue number two. How quickly can you acknowledge someone on video in person with your hands? The second thing here, the kind of next level tip is not only using our hands as trust indicators but using our hands as competence indicators. Okay then, now follow with me on this. The second experiment that we did where we analyzed thousands of hours of TED Talks. Again, I love a TED Talk. This research got me my own TED Talk, which is where we wanted to know what makes a successful TED Talk. And when we analyze the top TED Talks, that's the most viewed TED Talks, purely based on view count and the least viewed TED Talks we found the biggest difference is hand gestures. Specifically, the most popular TED Talkers use an average of 465 gestures in 18 minutes. Whereas the least popular TED Talkers use an average of 272 gestures. Now these are huge differences in terms of numbers. What was happening here is that when we're trying to process a lot of information, this is especially important if you are pitching or presenting or sharing a complicated idea, for those of you who have a multi-phase or a complicated idea, the brain is trying to process all that verbal information but we can only take in so much at a time. The really good TED Talkers as well as the really good entrepreneurs on Shark Tank are able to double talk. They're able to give you their idea with their words and show their idea with their hands. So if I were to say to you, today, I have a really big idea. It's huge, you go no way with us. It's so small, I can see it. And that is because we give more weight to gestures. If I were to say to you today, I have three big idea. That was so hard guys. That was so hard to do that. And that's because even my own mouth doesn't wanna lie. So, if I say I have three different ideas, my brain wants to fits an over wire because my hand wants to also show three. And so if someone walks into the Shark Tank or walks on stage and says today, I have the three big ideas. Not only does it help them be more fluent it also helps their listeners also remember each of those three ideas. So when we're thinking about gestures, cue number three here is explanatory hands help people remember what you have to say and pay attention. Even in a conversation, a casual conversation, let's say it's not a pitch or a presentation. If you were to say, oh, I had two good things to tell you, two good things to tell you, that person remembers that gesture of two and you finish one. They are more likely to say, oh what was the other thing you wanted to tell me? What was that second thing? And that is because we are more likely to remember gestures. So, this is not just big or small. So, let's say that you're talking to a client and you have a really big idea. It's a really good one. You can literally show how big, it's beach ball, big. If there's a small problem, it's a little, no big deal. Small little problem, we're gonna take care of it. This you're more likely to say yes they're gonna take care of it. Look how easy it was to take care of it. If you're talking about something from the heart, you can literally gesture to your heart. In fact, we noticed that Ted speakers as well as entrepreneurs, when they were talking about something deeply personal to them, they often gestured towards their heart to signal to people they were about to talk about something personal. So I want you to think about how can you underline or bold your words with your gestures? How can you emphasize or make more clear what you're trying to talk about with those gestures? Kind of a funny little note here, we noticed anecdotally. So for those of you who watch me on YouTube, thank you, thank you for your views and your likes. Get it, that's a gesture, right? A little like you like. So we notice anecdotally, that in thumbnails, if we can show me doing a very specific hand gesture, we get more clicks. We think the reason for this is because one, it's visible. So if my hands are visible, people are much more likely to trust me. But second, if I'm saying something really specific in the video it makes me look like I have something to share. Look, she's using a hand gesture, it must be important. So you also might think about if you're a content creator, can you show your hands in your thumbnails? Can you add gestures to your thumbnails or even in your marketing materials, the headers on your website, your profile pictures, you might notice if you go check out my social profiles, a lot of my profiles have my hands in the picture. There's a reason for that, it's a cue. The next thing we noticed besides lots of hand gestures these kind of went hand in hand, get it? Hand in hand, that was on accident guys, been here all night. So the other thing that happened along with those gestures is expansive posture. We noticed that as people were gesturing, they tended to take up more space. Specifically, we saw space between their arms and their torso. So space here. So they weren't protecting their torso. We saw space here between their ears and their shoulders. We saw lots of relaxation and we saw broad gestures beyond the body. That was a hallmark of those successful pitches. The reason for this is because typically we like the look of a winner. Here's what I mean by this. Researchers from British Columbia looked at winning and losing athletes, looked at this across races. So, across genders and cultures and races when we win a race, when we feel pride, we take up space. Typically when an athlete wins a race they have lots of space between their torso and their arm. They usually tilt their head up towards the sky exposing their most vulnerable areas, their jugular and they typically exclaim or take up space with their gestures. The reason for this is because when we feel pride we want the world to notice us, right? We wanna claim and take up our space. The opposite happens with losing athletes. So, losing athletes take up as little space as possible. They tightly wrap their arms to their sides. They usually tilt their head down and in, sometimes they'll even crumple down into a kind of standing fetal position. This is important for us to know that that's typically winners look more like this and losers look more like this. You may be wondering, yeah, Vanessa, I'm not gonna walk around like this, but a lot of the times we accidentally do when we check our phone. It is remarkably similar how the checking your phone gesture or hunched over your computer gesture looks to defeat. And so, I want you to be aware of your first impression. In those first few seconds, when you hop on video or you walk into a room where someone opens the door to their waiting room, are you like this? Checking your email? That immediately makes you look more defeated. It immediately makes you look more like that shame posture. Instead, I want you to think about what's the sweet spot? And by the way, I love a high power pose, right? Like I love taking up space, but I do not want you walking into all of your meetings like this. I'm here, I'm here to stay. Very high power, you're are gonna look like a winner but it's a little socially aggressive. It's a little bit socially aggressive. So I love the power pose when you're at home. When you're jamming out to your tunes, when you're in the car, you can rock out. But in the room, I want you to do what I call a launch stance. We learned about this in my power body language class if you've taken that class. So a launch stance specifically, is we have a little bit of space between our arms and our torso. They're loose at our sides or we're gesturing. We have space between our shoulders and our ear lobes kind of a weird distance there but we're gonna talk about that in a second. And we also have nice open body and loose gestures. That is the sweet spot for winning power posing. Here's another example I see. So this is me in my lab, I see so many people accidentally start their video calls like this. Hi, good to see everyone. Hi, and they're hunched over with as little space as possible. The problem is that accidentally looks like defeat. So be sure that at the start of your video calls, in your first impression when you're waving hello, keep your should down. I wanna see as much space as possible between your ear and your shoulder, small one, but sounds really good. Ah, loose arms, open torso, shoulders down, head up, right? So, less crunched over. And of course, as much as possible, visible hands. Little side note here, If you're on video a lot, I like to push my camera back to be at least three feet away, to make sure that you can see the tops of my hand gestures. I notice a lot of times people accidentally lose their gestures simply by having their camera too close. So, make sure to push your camera at least to a feet away. So when you're gesturing, people can see those beautiful hand gestures. We love those hand gestures and also to keep your shoulders nice and low. This brings me to cue number four, stand like a leader to inspire openness and competence. Remember that the best Ted speakers, the best entrepreneurs on Shark Tank, they're both open and powerful. That's that sweet spot. We have open body, but we're claiming our space. That is the perfect balance of nonverbal warmth and nonverbal competence. So your next video call, your next in person meeting. Even on your phone call, I want you to stand like a leader, open, charismatic and use those gestures to show you mean it. (upbeat music)