Several years ago, I read a fascinating article about a body language experiment that was conduced by a group of marketing students attending a major university. The experiment was designed to measure the impact, if any, of nonverbal communications on the learning process. They gathered a group of 100 student volunteers who agreed to participate in the experiment.
Unbeknownst to the professor, half of the students were told to sit up straight, unfold their arms and keep their feet planted firmly on the floor. The other students were instructed to do just the opposite. They were asked to sit back in their chairs and relax with their arms folded and legs crossed. Each student was interviewed and tested immediately following the two-hour lecture and the results were quite impressive.
Surprisingly, the group of 50 students who were told to sit up straight and pay attention, scored a remarkable 30 percent higher retention rate as compared to their “laid back” cohorts. In addition, they had a much more favorable impression of the professor and his teaching style.