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October 03, 2021

Power Postures

We all are fans of super-heroes and super-heroines, the divine avatars and supernatural beings. We want them around and with us to protect, shield and save ourselves from super-villains, evil-minded individuals, monsters, demons, natural calamities, catastrophes and disasters in the world which is highly susceptible to disorder, calamity, disaster, destruction and chaos. Don't we really?

From ancient mythological superheroes like Hercules, Thor and Hanuman (Indian Super-hero from epic Ramayana) to modern day Superman, Iron Man, Batman and Wonder Woman; their stories and legends have made their way into almost every household on this planet through oral traditions, (comic) books, dramas, movies, images, statues, figurines and toys. All super-heroes and super-heroines have distinct dresses and distinct signature postures.

In their stories, all super-heroes and super-heroines are depicted as very powerful, strong, skilled and risk-taking individuals who are often equipped with body armors, shields and weapons. They look and appear very different in entire crowd just by standing differently in the first place. Their faces are held upward, necks are exposed, shoulders are stretched wider, chests are puffed, two legs are put apart from each other, forearms are put on their hips and feasts are clenched or weapons are wielded in them. They appear very formidable.

If they don't adapt their signature postures and put on ordinary clothes while facing the super-villains, evil-minded individuals, demons, natural calamities, catastrophes and disasters; they would appear or look no different than the entire crowd filled with ordinary, weak and vulnerable people who seek their protection in the first place.

Their signature postures are their own ways to show that they are capable of facing dangers and saving people. By adapting such postures they physically prepare themselves, assert themselves into people's eyes and warn their opponents.

We are not super-heroes and super-heroines and they are not us but we mimic or impersonate them. Children often dress up themselves like super-heroes and super-heroines. Until they don't make signature poses, mimicry or impersonation is not complete. So is it the posture that makes super-heroes and super-heroines what they really are? Do such postures really benefit the ordinary people? Can we turn ourselves into super-heroes and super-heroines just by adapting their signature postures?

Until year 2010, nobody was quite sure about the same to be able to make scientific claims publicly through an article and later a popular TED talk in year 2012. It made Dr. Amy Cuddy (social psychologist, author and speaker) enormously famous overnight world over. According to her, if we consciously adapt high-power postures during (potentially) stressful social interactions then we feel confident, in-control, calm, powerful and dominant.

With more that 20 millions of views, it could be one of the most watched body language videos ever published on the internet.

She studied and found that both humans and animals unconsciously adapt such open, upright body and limb extending postures when they are in control, powerful and feeling accomplished in various situations e. g. winning a contest, defeating an opponent etc. She conducted an experiment on how nonverbal expressions of power and control through expansive, open, wider, broader and space-occupying body postures affect people's feelings, behaviors and hormone levels.

She claimed that adapting body postures that express dominance and power ("power posing") for as little as two minutes before facing the actual situation can increase testosterone (stress reducing hormone), decrease cortisol (stress inducting hormone) and increase appetite for taking risks. Eventually, it leads to higher possibilities of better performance during stressful interactions especially job interviews.

A) Low-Power Postures/Poses: Closed, Non-Assertive, Constricted, Twisted and Space-giving body postures

B) High-Power Postures/Poses: Open, Assertive, Wider, Broader and Space-occupying body postures

Her theory of “power posing” emphasizes the influencing power of body language during social interactions. Showing power and dominance through body postures eventually makes a person feel powerful, confident and stress-free was the central idea of her theory which faced many counter-claims, threats, rebuttal and denial too. Also, there are a lot of contradictory results presented against her promising 'self-empowerment' theory of consciously adapted power postures by different scientific studies till date.

In animal kingdom, both low power and high power postures/poses are quite prevalent. Animals use them unconsciously during the kind of confrontations in which showing power, confidence and dominance is necessary to distinguish a high-power individual from a low-power individual(s). Does it really work for humans by adapting power postures consciously (before facing somebody)? Should we purposefully adapt power postures to appear like super-heroes and super-heroines in public?

According to my own thoughts and opinions, we constantly need to audit, check and question ourselves for the postures which we adapt unconsciously in the given social situation and physical condition. If postures are really closing, shrinking, bending and twisting our bodies unnecessarily we can adapt open, aligned, upright and good body postures. By doing so, we wouldn't ruin our musculoskeletal fitness, joints and spine in the first place.

Additionally, if you're genuinely competent, strong and expert in your professional skills (and you've proved the same); open, upright and confident body postures would definitely suit on you if you adapt them reasonably, especially in front of individuals who see you as a pioneer, a leader, a motivator, an inspirer or an influencer.

Related Articles:
1) Postures 2) Domination 3) Why we clench fist after victory? 4) My posture discovery 5) Good posture is Healthy 6) Positive Body Language 7) Confident Body Language 8) Conscious shift in body language 9) Let your spirit soar higher 10) Body Language in Advertisement

June 13, 2021

Online Etiquette

Since Covid 19 (Corona Virus) pandemic took the entire modern world in its tight grip, billions of people have lost control over their normal daily routines. Both social and work lives have been affected thoroughly and changed dramatically within just a moment after lock-down were declared by local governments.

Millions of working professionals all over the world have been forced to work from home, using devices like laptops, computers and cellphones. Their work-life has been confined to boundaries of their homes. Coincidentally, I'm one of them only.

Getting ready to go to the work place, interacting with many individuals on the way to office or at the work place, staying, working and eating together, attending meetings and going out on regular breaks with workmates is a daily routine of billions of people on this busy planet.

No matter how much monotonous, boring and mechanical it is, most working individuals like to spend their lives for decades like this. However, forcing most of us to Work From Home (WFH) has completely changed it, just at a moment's notice. Most of us weren't prepared for the same, both physically and mentally.

Facing and interacting with people effectively to achieve a specific common goal is already a great social and professional challenge. Additionally, online meetings, seminars, workshops, interviews and conferences have further intensified the same. Many individuals are finding it hard to interact online and thus making a lot of mistakes during online interactions.

Hence, I thought to come with a brief list of etiquette and good practices to help many working from home individual in appearing professional, attentive and interactive during online meetings.

Following is a list of the same:

1) Before interaction begins, ensure that you look enough professional. Ensure that you're wearing adequate and proper cloths. Ensure that your hair are well set.

2) Along with maintaining a professional look and composure, choose a quite and safe place to be able to seat undisturbed for a while to attend the meeting.

3) Maintain a proper, upright and steady posture so that your face and torso wouldn't appear appear leaning too much forward. Avoid playing or fidgeting.

4) Keep maintaining a proper distance between yourself and camera of the device so that other participants can see your entire face and neck.

5) Avoid making sudden, erratic and aggressive body movements until you really need to leave your place in emergency or the meeting ends.

6) Make sure that other participants can hear you and/or see you properly by setting up camera and microphone before meeting.

7) While a meeting in going on, don't touch your face and scratch your head/neck. Don't put fingers in mouth or bite nails.

8) Let it be only a voice meeting or a video meeting, avoid doing anything else simultaneously other than attending it.

9) While all others can see and hear you in the meeting room, avoid looking at your cellphone and listening music.

10) Make controlled hand gestures, nod your head and smile whenever it's necessary. Don't just seat coldly.

11) While all others can see you in the meeting room, maintain a proper and adequate eye contact.

12) Make sure that you've everything necessary with you to present, refer, recite or show.

13) Mute your microphone whenever you're not talking. Avoid whispering and talk fast.

14) Politely ask to repeat if you haven't heard somebody or something properly.

15) Don't forget to greet others at the beginning and the end of the meetings.

16) Choose a good background, blur it or replace it with a proper image.

New variants of the virus are emerging almost all over the world after a few days. Hence, there seems no relief from this ongoing pandemic that we all are facing since the beginning of 2020. Work From Home (WFH) might become a permanent routine for millions of working professionals from here onwards.

Be professionally ready for online meetings.

Many companies and professionals have switched to the long-term or even permanent Work From Home working mode already. Better prepare yourself properly to face it effectively.

Unlike rest of the subconscious body language cues, ettiqute need to learned by oneself or taughed by others consciously.

Wishing you all a very happy Working From Home!

Related Articles:
1) Workspace Etiquette 2) Elevator Etiquette

February 11, 2021

Basic Bodily Cues

Living is all about moving and replicating. All living creatures, beasts and beings continuously, instinctively, unconsciously and involuntarily strive to survive and replicate/reproduce by competing, cooperating, sharing, negotiating and comprising. It involves different types of physical movements, flutters, maneuvers, responses and defenses.

On the planet earth, all carbon-based, evolved and diverse living creatures do follow some very basic bodily behavioral patterns irrespective of their species, physical features, body size, body weight, body structure, population, habitat, diet, social structure, problem-solving ability and biological complexity. Perhaps, these patterns could be universal.

There are very few basic bodily cues and behavioral patterns which have been further transformed, diversified and amplified into various reflexes, facial expressions, postures, gestures, vocal tones, responses and feedback in multi-cellular, complex and large creatures including us. Matter of facts, artificial robots too follow them.

While reading each pattern, please keep in mind the opposite side of the pattern i. e. after 'verses' (vs.) word is opposite to or can be mostly opposite to what has been described for the former one e. g. Closing is opposite to Distancing or vice a versa.

1) Forwarding vs. Withdrawing: Extending, stretching, protruding, forwarding any body part or orienting the whole body towards somebody or something has to do with aiming, accepting, venturing, exploring, probing, searching, surrendering, drawing attention, offering, invading, warning, threatening, blocking, confronting, demanding, defending, leading, directing and willing or trying to participate, touch, initiate exchange, connect, attach, seize or provide support.

2) Raising vs. Lowering: Standing tall, gaining height or raising any body part or the whole body upwards has to do with showing strength, departing, declaring, demanding, declining, denying, provoking, challenging, risking, rebelling, resolving, braving, leading, opposing, uprising, unsharing, increasing visibility, visual field, range, reach, territory, domination or superiority and providing cover, shelter, support or safety to minors, subordinates or helpless.

3) Closing vs. Distancing: Coming close, moving close, reducing distance or closing gap with something or somebody has to do with harboring interest/curiosity, liking, agreeing, accepting, sharing, participating, invading, attaching, lacking fear, braving, preparing to attack, threatening, trusting, evaluating, examining, experiencing, sensing and providing refuge, shelter, affection, intimacy, nourishment, nurturing, resources, support or safety.

4) Fixating vs. Fleeting: Focusing attention on something or somebody has to do with aiming, liking, showing interest, harboring curiosity about and concentrating entire energy and attention over a considerable amount of time for learning about, understanding, examining, measuring or analyzing to obtain, acquire, attack, invade, earn, win, control, chase, pursue, catch, capture, hunt, seize and rule it.

5) Shrinking vs. Spreading: Shrinking, contracting, collapsing or downsizing has to do with sharing, deteriorating, weakening, decaying, controlling, averting, concealing, disliking, disagreeing, distrusting, differing, retreating, refusing, loosing, denying, defending and protecting self in the face of danger, risk, threat, challenge, calamity, superior, larger or dominant entity.

6) Hiding vs. Exposing: Hiding behind something or somebody or taking cover has to do with resting, ruminating, mustering energy, avoiding, waiting, stalking, ambushing, planning, strategizing, sheltering, securing, healing, recovering, escaping, defending and protecting self in the face of danger, risk, threat, challenge, calamity, superior, larger or dominant entity.

7) Startling vs. Settling: Startling, shaking or moving abruptly has to do with experiencing an shock, stir, disturbance and disruption caused due to sudden and involuntary exposure to or confrontation with unsuspected, unexpected, unlikable, unpleasant, undesired, untimely, unwanted, uncontrolled or inexperienced stimulus, sensation, thought or entity.

8) Moving vs. Stalling: Moving body has to do with asserting existence, traveling, migrating, acting upon, working, playing, performing, struggling, attracting, chasing, carrying, pursuing, competing, catching, foraging, losing patience/interest, escaping and defending self in the face of danger, risk, threat, challenge, calamity, superior, larger or dominant entity.

9) Gathering vs. Dispersing: Gathering or bringing together to form a group has to do with protecting each other, debating, deciding, strategizing, exchanging, celebrating, collaborating and initiating or attempting to achieve cooperation, agreement, unity, strength, safety, superiority, prosperity, solidarity, peace, harmony, intimacy, friendship and dominance.

10) Attaching vs. Detaching: Attaching, clasping, tethering, touching or tying with somebody or something has to do with accepting, bonding, confirming, enjoying, sharing, seeking, sucking, consuming, transferring, exchanging, extracting, earning and providing shelter, refuge, affection, nourishment, nurturing, resources, support or safety.

11) Flexing vs. Relaxing: Tightening muscles of any body part or the whole body has to do with enduring, suppressing, resolving, expressing anger or hostility and initiating or preparing to move, lift, carry, crush, drag, pull, push, punch, press, throw, strike, seize, fight, hunt, invade, penetrate, control or defend.

12) Seizing vs. Releasing: Seizing, grabbing or clutching somebody and something has to do with seeking support/security, feeling insecure, controlling, coercing, exploiting, consuming, stealing, hurting, torturing, punishing, silencing, dominating, suppressing, subjugating and asserting ownership.

Let it be a painting, a statue, a creature, a human, a casual social interaction between two persons or a serious encounter, if you start analyzing or examining cluster of postures, gestures, expressions, giveaways, responses and feedback only in the given context on the basis of aforementioned patterns then you would easily overcome ambiguity, uncertainty, obscurity and confusion while arriving on firm conclusions.

12 Basic Bodily Cues are quite logical, geometrical and universal.

An entity under examination might be following two or more patterns at the same time e. g. the statue of Sagittarius is following Forwarding, Rising, Fixating and Tightening patterns so Sagittarius seems (poised) to shoot the arrow at some higher and farther target. Remaining three examples above too are following two or more patterns at the same time.

Possibly, you can plot the checklist of patterns and their counter-patters mentally, digitally or on paper to derive firm conclusions about (living) entities and encounters under examination. Perhaps, this whole checklist can be turned into a computerized or digital tool.

If you pay a close attention then you would wonder to realize that all these patterns are quite logical, geometrical and universal. Sharing similarity with the classical 12 Zodiac Constellations, I personally call these basic patterns as Cue Constellations (CC).

Critically important factors for deriving conclusions from the aforementioned bodily cues are Cluster, Context and Congruence (if words and verbal dialogs are involved).

Perhaps, it's the first of its kind article written and published on a website that is dedicated to body language.

Related Articles:
1) Hand Gestures 2) Facial Expressions 3) Postures 4) Para Language 5) Micro-expressions 6) Context 7) Proxemics 8) Congruence 9) Clusters 10) Challenges 11) Interpretation