Yeah, yeah…this sounds like one of those “too good to be true” snake oil salesman pitches, doesn’t it? It’s not.
Hear me out…better yet, hear Amy Cuddy out.
Body language is powerful…we exhibit power messages to others by how we carry ourselves, what position our arms and legs are in, what voice tone we have, and what sort of eye movements and facial expressions we have.
We use that non-verbal communication as vital information to understanding others. We use it to know where others are at…and that influences how we respond to them.
Did you know that we can use body language to influence ourselves…that we give ourselves messages about our own ability? We read our own body language and respond out of it.
If we change our body language…we change how we perceive ourselves…and that will have a ripple effect on how others perceive us.
By adopting an open “power pose”, the body of a person tells their brains to feel more confident. And their behavior changes.
Being more powerful doesn’t make a person a bully, it makes a person better able to:
- look at a stranger and smile,
- look someone in the eye and apologize when you bump them,
- be able approach and shake the hand of an acquaintance and say hello
- be the first one to say after an argument…”We got a little angry back there, can we start that discussion over?”
- agree to a new project at work, and tackle it with enthusiasm
The science is solid. Feeling more powerful opens up a person’s creativity, joy, and enthusiasm for life. Bring a natural warmth and a powerful feeling together, and you have a powerhouse of a person who can bring their best selves to tackles the challenges of life.
One small quibble…Amy says to “fake it until you become it”…I disagree…I think it’s not actually faking it. Can a person fake something that actually isn’t part of their repertoire? I can’t fake speaking Ukranian…because I don’t have a foggy clue how to speak it. But I can look more confident than I feel in the moment...because I have that confidence as a part of me…maybe hidden or under-utilized…but it’s there…and helping myself feel confident puts me in a better place to access that which is already there. I’m not faking it…I’m actually merely exposing it.
Isn’t it frustrating to know that if you were relaxed and calm and in the quiet of your own safe living room, you could do a job, but your ability fades when
- a microphone is put in your face (that would be me!)
- you’re doing it in front of an audience, or your boss, or your significant other
- the stakes are high for whatever reason…and you watch your confidence fade
Try pulling off the confident pose…lower your stress hormones by 25%…and see if it helps?!