Non Verbal Language: Power Poses

During a recent Leading Amazing Teams course, an attendee pointed me to this Ted Talk about non verbal language (body language) by Amy Cuddy.

First, I had to re-watch the very beginning of the video a couple of times before I could get over the clicker.  Seriously, that has to be the biggest device ever with the massive green and red button. I think I might have to get one of those just to mess with my co-trainers.

I’m familiar of the various ways we can make correct and incorrect sweeping judgements based solely on body language of others.  I share quite a bit about this when it comes to improving communication and relationships. Yet, I had never thought about how I’m influenced by my own body language.

The research that was highlighted indicated that we can have a significant impact on our minds based on our body.  Almost, as if you are talking to yourself.  If we want to feel powerful, expand and open up, this will increase your testosterone (dominance) and lower your cortisol (handle stress better).  This was based on research of people posing for two minutes in high power and low power positions.

While watching this video, I suddenly remembered something that had happened last year. Henry Dittmer, my colleague, asked me to promise to do this pose for a few minutes before walking into the CST interview panel.  He didn’t really explain why – just had me promise. Well, I can’t break a promise so I did.  I stood really tall with my hands on my hips and then up in the air for a couple of minutes.  I remember thinking that was silly but a promise is a promise.  I didn’t think about his again until now. Originally, I chalked up the interview success to normal things: preparation, abilities, personality, etc. And I’m sure all of that played a part but now I’m willing to appreciate that power pose played a part too.  Thanks Henry!

I will definitely be considering my own body language message to myself more frequently.  I absolutely loved her sentiment about “Fake it until you become it”.  I have not been shy about admitting my imposter syndrome but this sentiment over the “fake it until you make it” aspect gave me a new perspective.  There are many things that I did think I was faking it but now I’m not worried about, I’ve replaced them with new fears.  So I absolutely “faked it until I became it” and I truly believe anyone can do that…now I have a new tool to help people and myself make this true even faster.

Would you be willing to do a power pose for two minutes before a key event?

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