Amy Cuddy, professor at Harvard Business School, explains in a TED Talk how the changes we make in our body, affect not only how others see you, but also how you see yourself. These changes you make in your body can drastically impact your career as well.
According to Cuddy, there are specific “power poses” that one can implement in order to immediately feel powerful and dominant. However, there are also certain “low-power poses” which can drastically hurt the way people perceive you. Moreover, these poses can negativity affect how you feel about yourself.
According to researchers and studies, a quick glimpse of a political candidate’s face and body language can enable people to predict or assume the winner of about 70% Senate and Gubernatorial races.
Cuddy already knew that our nonverbal behavior affects the way people see us. However, Cuddy questioned whether our nonverbals affect how we perceive ourselves; in other words, if our bodies can change our minds.
Therefore, Cuddy and her colleagues set out to find an answer. They devised an experiment in which people were asked to perform “high-power poses” for two minutes. After that, the other subjects were asked to perform “low-power poses” for two minutes. Finally, the subjects were tested on their risk tolerance and body chemistry. After the two-minute “high-power poses,” the subjects’ risk tolerance drastically inclined. However, after the two-minute “low-power poses,” the subjects’ risk tolerance sank.
According to the researchers of this experience, the results were the outcomes of a drastic change in body chemistry. The subjects whose risk levels were higher and who assumed the “high-power poses,” had an increase in testosterone after the two-minute “high-power pose.” Testosterone is considered a hormone that exerts dominance and confidence in a person. In comparison, the testosterone of the “low-power posers” fell by about 10%.
The results of Cuddy’s experiment proved that our nonverbal behavior can in fact change our minds. Furthermore, Cuddy suggests that power posing for a few minutes can change one’s life in a meaningful way. Even if you’re not feeling powerful, Cuddy advises her audience to “fake it till you make it.” More specifically, Cuddy suggests that people not only “fake it till you make it,” but “fake it till you become it.”
However, that doesn’t mean that when you’re in an interview, you plop your feet on hirer’s desk, lean back and put your hands behind your head. The idea of power posing is for yourself and to change the way you think about yourself. For example, before having your name called for an interview, you may be sitting outside the office in a “low-power pose,” hunching and make yourself smaller. When really, your body language should show confidence and power. Then maybe, your mind will feel that as well.
Check out these “low-power poses” that some of you may unintentionally be doing:
Now that you know and spotted some poses that may have affected you, check out these “high-power poses” that you can take on to feel more dominant and powerful.
So next time you’re in the elevator, by your desk, in front of a mirror or before and after an interview, try to power pose for a couple of minutes. You’ll boost up your confidence and appear more powerful to others.
Cuddy left the audience with one last thought. “Our bodies change our minds…and our minds change our behavior…and our behavior changes our outcomes.”