You don’t need to change what you say or what you wear if you want to be heard: You simply have to change the way you behave to get the audience to engage with you’

Research Proves You Can Gain 42% Increase In Your Leadership Ratings With A Few Simple Changes

If you would like to know how to convince more people with your ideas, these surprising results we uncovered in our research collaboration with University College London will show you how it’s done.

The Journal of Psychology published our academic paper in 2016. The results were conclusive: People of any age, race or gender can dramatically increase their influence by making small adjustments to their communication style.

The experiment involved over 2000 worldwide participants and was one of the largest studies of its kind ever created.


We wanted to know whether you can say the same words and wear the same clothes but dramatically shift how people rate your abilities by making a few simple changes in your presentation style. 

To achieve clear results, we created 100 videos presented by four actors, a man and a woman with fair skin and a man and a woman with darker skin. 

In some versions of the video, we made up the actors to look roughly 30 years older than they were. Their clothing and words were the same in every video. The difference we were testing for was the non-verbal presentation cues, meaning how you stand and the gestures you make. 

Before we ran the study, we imagined different results arising from different cultural outlooks across the world. The results were very different than we expected.

It turned out age, gender, or skin colour made no significant difference to how viewers rated the presentation they saw. Nor did it matter who watched the videos. Viewers in India – men and women – had very similar responses to viewers in the USA or Europe.

What the data did reveal – to a significant extent – was this: Those presenters using the most effective presentation style – the posture and gesture insights we teach – can increase the viewer’s opinion of how knowledgeable, inspiring, and confident they are by as much as 42 percent.


In effect, the research showed you don’t need to change what you say or what you wear if you want to be heard: You simply have to change the way you behave to get the audience to engage with you, and therefore your message.

In summary, we were able to prove that any person – just like you – no matter your age, race or gender, can dramatically increase your influence on people from a whole range of backgrounds simply by calibrating how you present your message in terms of your body language.

So, if you want to convince more people more often, try these three tips:

  • Enhance your posture by allowing gravity to work more effectively with your body. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart can create a sense of confidence and gravitas.
  • Use a variety of dominant and submissive gestures. Palms down when talking about important or serious messages, palms up to be more open, or ask a question.
  • Be congruent. Make sure your body language, tone of voice, and message are all saying the same thing. Don’t contradict yourself!

Can we help you with your personal impact and presentation skills? Get in touch!


by Richard Newman
on 4th May 2021

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