Power. It’s that intangible thing that so many people strive for. For some, power is a natural thing. For others, it doesn’t come as easy.

Amy Cuddy at TEDGlobal 2012 Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Amy Cuddy at TEDGlobal 2012 Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Most of us has known and experienced the sensations of a job interview. We practice our speech, we dress up in our best outfits and we are on our way. Somewhere between our homes and the interview, we start to fall apart. We sweat, we have trouble breathing and it’s all just disgusting. We feel like we shouldn’t be there and all we want to do is go home. What if something existed that could make all this nastiness go away?

Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist that specializes in body language. She insists that it shapes who we are. We all know that our body language affects how people see us. But does it also shape how we see ourselves? Cuddy says that standing tall and proud – even when we do not feel confident – can have a positive impact on how we are perceived, in this case at a job interview. For example, stand in front of a mirror, put your hands on your hips, tilt your chin up, and make yourself as tall as you can get. Even better: throw your arms up and out. The results of this simple gesture were astonishing. In her lab, Cuddy found that “power posing” for two minutes was enough to increase testosterone levels and decrease cortisol, making people feel more in control and less stressed. In other words, the way you hold your body can change how you feel about yourself.

Amy Cuddy improvising a power pose. Photo: Thatcher Cook for PopTech

Amy Cuddy improvising a power pose. Photo: Thatcher Cook for PopTech

Ideally, you want to feel that you have the power to bring your full, spirited self to the situation, stripped of the fears and inhibitions that might typically hold you back. Assume a posture for two minutes – and change your life. Do this before whatever presentation you are going to give, school, work or otherwise, and it will start to feel normal. So, don’t fake it until you make it, fake it until you become it.

Amy Cuddy did an excellent presentation on TEDTalks. Click here, watch it, and you might not be as stressed out on your next job interview.

 

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