The Power Pose

To be noticed for passion, talent, and ability is every woman’s goal. Sometime’s, however, we can feel as though we aren’t good enough, this makes us shy away from opportunities that could fast track our careers. It also affects our body, we cross our arms or look down, and this assures our feelings of unworthiness.  We came across a great TED talk around body language communication by Amy Cuddy, who is a  scientific professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, where she studies how non-verbal behaviour and snap judgments affect people from the classroom to the boardroom.

This talk left us intrigued and we couldn’t help but share what we learned from it. As they are ideas worth spreading, we are going to dive into the topic of body language and how it directly affects mood and how other people perceive us.

Here are 4 learnings from Amy Cuddy’s TED talk :

#1 We are influenced by our own body language

Amy shared in her talk “So when we think of nonverbals, we think of how we judge others, how they judge us and what the outcomes are. We tend to forget, though, the other audience that’s influenced by our nonverbals, and that’s ourselves. We are also influenced by our nonverbals, our thoughts and our feelings and our physiology”  This simple means that our body language influences how we feel about ourselves, how we feel about ourselves influences how we behave and how we behave determines our outcomes. With all that being said , what are you telling your body?

#2 We can regain our identity

Whilst Amy was 19 she had a really bad car accident which resulted in her 1Q dropping by two standard deviations. Amy had always been known as the really smart child or “the gifted one” so it really impacted her when they told her she would not be able to go back to college and graduate. She felt she had been stripped of her core identity however she did not give up. Despite the negative comments, Amy went back to college and eventually graduated 4 years after her peers. She was able to convince her angel advisor , Susan Fiske to take her on so she ended up at Princeton. Amy was able to regain what she identified herself with which was being a bright and intelligent person, although she had to work harder than others she regained back her identity and so can you!

#3 The Imposter feeling is just that, a feeling!

Sometimes situations can make us feel we shouldn’t be in certain roles or at certain stages of our lives. It is completely natural to feel like this but remember it is just a feeling and you are not an imposter. After all the hard work Amy put into getting accepted at Harvard she still felt like an imposter ,however Susan convinced her to change how she feels about herself by faking her confidence.

The good thing is you can change how you feel not just through words but with your body language

#4 Don’t fake it till you make it, fake it till you become it

The common term surfing the internet is ” fake it till you make it” however Amy preaches “Fake it till you become it” ! She noticed after advising someone to fake their confidence over and over again it resulted in the persona becoming confident.  Do it enough until you actually become it and internalize.

#5 Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes

Within 2 minutes you can convince yourself into thinking or feeling a certain way through small changes in your posture and body language.  So how can you use this to rid yourself of nerves before your next interview or presentation?

Holding your body in a ‘high power’ pose for a brief period can summon a feeling of power. Becoming expansive and authoritative for two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone (the hormone we link to power and dominance). After standing with your hand on your hips or sitting back with your hands behind your head, you will have a higher risk tolerance and feel more in control of your feelings.

Now a question you must ask yourself  after understanding that body language is a form of communication, is ” What is my body language communicating and what are others telling to me?”

 Here are some power poses you can try for yourself:

  1. Standing tall, with a wide stance.
  2. Arms raised in a “V” above your head.
  3. Standing tall, with your hands placed on your hips.
  4. Arms crossed behind the head, sitting or standing.

Hold for two mins and tell us how you feel!

Stand tall, be proud of who you are and give it time. That confident, powerful version of yourself is minutes away.

Note: This has become one of TED’s most watched talks ever, with more than 39 million views as of February 2017 – So this is def something you need to watch!

Written by Hannah Russell

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