Did you know that standing like Wonder Woman – feet apart, hands on hips, gaze slightly upward – before your job interview can increase your chance of success?
Or that kicking back in a feet up, hands-behind-your-head position helps you exude more confidence and express yourself more authentically a few minutes later?
But the secret is, well, doing it in secret.
The posing is prep you do for a power boost before your big moment. You don’t want to do it with an audience.
In her TED talk last spring, Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy shared fascinating work on “power posing” and how your body position influences your brain.
[Cuddy’s TED talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” is embedded below this post.]
A social psychologist, Cuddy found herself observing what she calls the “power nonverbals” of MBA students in her classroom at Harvard.
She saw behaviors ranging from stereotypical alpha-style actions like spreading out and taking up space, to the non-power postures of other students who Cuddy says were “virtually collapsing on themselves”.
Her observations drove a number of questions, leading to her research.
We already know that our non-verbals govern how others think and feel about us.
But Cuddy set out to learn if those same non-verbals could govern how we think and feel about ourselves.
Could standing in a powerful-looking position for two minutes be impactful enough to make a person feel more powerful? Enough to cause them to behave more powerfully a short while later?
Turns out, it can.
In her lab research – which included job interview scenarios – Cuddy found that power posing increased a person’s presence in stressful, evaluative situations.
Subjects who had privately performed high-power poses for two minutes prior to a challenging job interview scenario were evaluated more highly than the subjects who practiced low-power poses.
Cuddy reports that the increased feeling of power that develops from using high-power poses makes us appear more passionate, enthusiastic, confident, captivating, and more comfortable being our authentic selves.
She states, “Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behavior, and our behavior can change our outcomes.”
So before you go into another stressful, evaluative situation – like a job interview – try striking one of the high-power poses she shares in the video.
Just be sure to leave your lasso of truth at home.
Image courtesy of Julian Fong.