One thing I’ve been studying lately: body language. Since I don’t have a lot of natural aptitude for reading people, I’ve had to study and work hard to understand the nonverbal signals people send. The way this type of communication works fascinates me, and it’s important too, since the core of my job is communication with students. For all these reasons, when my friend Marc MacYoung pointed me to this TED Talk, I dropped everything to watch it.
I explained why I was interested in that video, but are you wondering why I asked you to watch it? It’s because our body language is a key aspect of avoiding violent crime; or, more precisely, it’s a key aspect of violent criminals avoiding us.
Successful criminals have mastered the art of choosing compliant victims. They do this by watching the non-verbal signals people send. Is that potential victim fearful, aware, distracted, alert, clueless, confident…? All of those possibilities exist within every single one of us, every minute of every day.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that you deliberately send dominance or power signals when you’re accosted. Nope. I’m suggesting that you start your day with the exercise the video suggests, and refresh it in private whenever you’re feeling unsure of yourself. As the lecturer says, it’s a small life hack that can help your life unfold in some amazing and unexpected ways. As you become more certain of yourself, more confident in your place in the world, your improved confidence can also help criminals make informed choices about who not to attack.
Plus, we now have an answer to the age-old question: “Why does Wonder Woman stand like that?”