It was illuminating watching this presentation by Amy Cuddy on the effect of body language on your future performance. They took a variety of volunteers and asked them to assume Power Poses or Inferior Postures prior to engaging in a very stressful interview and various saliva tests were taken. The increase in testosterone and the decrease in cortisol – the stress hormone – in those subjects who had adopted a Power Pose prior to the tests.
So, what’s a Power Pose? Well, have you ever sat next to a man on a train? Yup, that wide stanced, legs akimbo, occupying the whole seat and a large part of yours – that’s a Power Pose. And what do you do in response? Yes, I squeeze myself into the space he’s left me as well!
If someone talking to you adopts the Power Pose, the natural response is to reply with a submissive pose. We close ourselves up and shrink down to take up the least amount of space possible.
When waiting to go into an interview or prior to a big meeting, we sit outside consulting our notes and closing ourselves in. Amy says we should be in the bathroom addressing the mirror with our hands on our hips like Wonder Woman. Or stretch our arms wide to the sky and stretch our legs as if doing a star jump.
Two minutes and the positive powerful hormones will start to gain control, beating down the stressy ones.
Definitely something to try!