Power in human communications and relations is determined largely by the interplay of our unconscious minds, according to Nick Morgan in his book Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximising Your Personal Impact. If you can understand how that unconscious interplay works and exercise some control over it, you may become more effective in the ways you relate to other people.
The book goes on to describe seven different “power cues” that will “help you signal that you’re the leader of the tribe gathered around you”. These cover such things as self-awareness, emotions conveyed through body language, deciphering the body language of others, using a commanding voice, and telling powerful stories. Each of these requires plenty of practice and training, but soon you will be able to maximise your personal impact as a leader.
This may all sound a bit Machiavellian, but the author explains that it is not about manipulation, but about “alignment” between the group and the leader. In fact, it is about radical authenticity, which requires you to manage your body language so that the non-verbal communication signals sent by your body reinforce the verbal message that you are giving. It takes plenty of preparation and practice to look truly authentic.
My sceptical reflex usually kicks in when a business book claims authority from the latest discoveries in “brain science”, and in the case of the present book I remain doubtful about many of the author’s assertions. Nonetheless, it is quite clear that poor body language does detract from the persuasiveness of an argument or presentation, and those seeking to improve their body language may find some helpful content here.