Cuddy is a professor and researcher from Harvard who maintains that our body language and the adaptation of power posing can affect our confidence, stress hormones and how we perceive ourselves. She maintains that it can also change how others perceive us.
I found it quite interesting, as recently my doctor told me that I had terrible posture. She said this to me as I slumped over in the chair in her office. This felt natural until she pointed it out.
I was probably shrinking to compensate that I wasn't feeling the best about myself. If you consider that I also work at a desk all day, my posture was becoming a problem.
Let's Test This...
This weekend, I put on my public relations hat and attended a work event. On my walk over, I decided to try a "power pose." I was dressed up, but not feeling the most confident, perhaps even a bit nervous, so I chose the "Wonder Woman" pose.
I put my fists on my hips, straightened my posture and kept walking down the street for a few minutes stuck in this pose. At first I felt ridiculous, but then I felt kind of strong. I realized how much I'd been slouching, and decided to straighten out. As Amy said in her talk, "Fake it, until you feel it."
The event went well, and everyone on my team was happy! After my work obligations were over, I ended up at a party with one of the nicest people I know, who kindly pulled some strings to get me in.
I walked in, grabbed a drink and was now in the same room as beautiful people who make their living by putting their beautiful faces on large screens. It was the Toronto International Film Festival after all. When I spotted the babe of all celebrity babes, I couldn't help but unabashedly stare. But then, out of nowhere, he stared back. I looked away, looked back and we caught eyes, again.
I freaked out and whispered this "eye contact happening" to my partner-in-crime.
I'm not really one to go up to celebrities and ask for photos, or get in their space. I find the whole thing super awkward. I was content with this retina action. My friend found my enthusiasm amusing. His job allows him to hang around famous people the way other people hang around excel charts.
As we made our way back to the bar, we walked by the man in question. In an unanticipated turn of events, the man turned around and in a dreamy Australian accent said,
I had zero time to react, so I did what I usually do when meeting a new person and extended out my arm.
"Hi, I'm Amanda," I said.
He then extended out his arm, and we shook hands.
"I'm Liam," he said.
While he did not mention his last name, I obviously knew it. It was HEMSWORTH. As in the maybe fiancé of Miley 'Twerk' Cyrus, hunky brother of Thor, taller than a Tasmanian Blue Gum, Hunger Games hero, Hemsworth.
He then proceeded to introduce me to his MOTHER and brother (not Thor, but his other brother Luke) who were all very polite and down to earth, despite this stranger now in their conversation circle. I asked them about their stay in Toronto and rambled on about the city.
When I turned back to him, I felt as if I had no more words in my vocabulary. My legs felt like overcooked linguini. He towered over me and stared into my soul with those baby blues, for what felt like an entire Nicholas Sparks movie (but really was like a half-second). So I blurted out,
"It was really nice to meet you."
"Me too," he said.
And that was that. I turned to my friend, and dramatically put my hand to my forehead to indicate how absolutely shocked and confused I was at what just happened.
The Meaning in the Message
So was it my power pose that made this entire encounter happen? I can't really say.
However, I can say that I do feel better when I force myself to stand up straight. I often struggle with self-confidence and assertiveness in my everyday life. This story, while fun to share, is more about having the confidence to not always shrink. It's about changing your body language and feeling a different result.
Take up more room. Stand up straight. Look whomever you want in the eye. Believe in yourself, and the rest will come.
That Ted Talk may have changed my perception on how body language affects my sense of self.
You may call it crazy.
Amy may call it science.
I call it, the best secret I ever learned.
Watch the talk here.
Hemsworth in Toronto.
Photo credit above.