Have you ever taken the time to think about what your posture says about you? Do you often have your arms crossed or slouch down when checking your phone? Do you stand tall and maintain an open stance with your hands on your hips? The nonverbal cues that you are giving off may be more important than you think.
The concept of power posing became widely discussed after Amy Cuddy’s TED talk entitled “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are.” In the globally viewed video, Cuddy, a social psychologist and Harvard Business School professor, discusses what she terms “power posing” – standing in a posture of confidence even when you don’t feel like it.
According to a study done by Cuddy and two other associates, striking a powerful pose has been shown to lower levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, and increase levels of testosterone, leading to improved confidence.
A follow-up study suggested that power posing can also lead to improved overall performance. In private, subjects held power poses for two minutes in preparation for a mock job interview. They were then asked to deliver a speech to two evaluators. The results found that those subjects who held power poses prior to giving the speech were rated more favorably and were more likely to be hired.
Ever since learning about power posing, I have been cognizant of how I present myself in different situations. Times when my posture is more open leave me feeling more confident and able, while keeping my arms crossed or slouching my shoulders often leaves me feeling more unsettled.
Teaching fitness classes also improved after I starting paying attention to my nonverbal cues. Having my hand on my hips while yelling motivation to others caused me to come up with more of those catchy phrases everyone loves and left me with an overall confidence that I wasn’t getting from fiddling with my rings on my hand.
While power poses can be helpful in work and social situations, they can also be done in private in order to start your day with confidence. In the morning, hold a pose or two for a couple minutes before leaving the house. You’ll be surprised at how your attitude can go from tentative to I CAN CONQUER ANYTHING.
You can also jump into a power pose at any point in your day. If you feel your stress building or your confidence waning, pay attention to your posture. Sometimes a little adjustment can make a big difference.