Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
Thoughts Before Watching:
I have always known that the way you present yourself is very important. People will take you more seriously if you have proper posture and speak with confidence. When going into a job interview or doing any public speaking, you do not want to be slouched over and have zero motion whatsoever. That is just plain boring! Being able to present yourself in an appropriate and professional matter (verbally and physically) is crucial. This applies especially to the business world.
Thoughts While Watching:
Amy mentions how others see our actions. There was a clip shown with President of the US shaking hands with a British Guard and then the Prime Minister of the UK rejecting the handshake from the same guard. This told me that the President of the US is friendly and that the Prime Minister feels too superior. I feel this way about people when they do not show interest in small gestures that make people happy (such as a simple handshake!)
She then goes on to talk about how we are also influenced by our own body language. I completely agree with this statement. The way we hold our bodies shows how we are feeling. For example, if you were sitting with a crouched back and folded arms, you may not be the most confident person.
The majority of this Ted Talk was about “Power Dynamics”. I think she did a great job introducing this to the audience. The first thing she talked about was the body language of animals. Animals will make their bodies large and take up more space to show their dominance and power. This also explained why this is done when you are approached by a bear. You have to show that you have more power than them by making yourself appear larger.
Amy also mentions how women feel chronically less powerful. Female students are more likely to have poor posture and to not raise their hands as high as men. When she made this comment, I was shocked. I was actually expecting her to say the exact opposite. However, I could be disagreeing with this statement due to the fact that my university is female dominated and I have never witnessed this occuring. The majority of people that speak out in class and participate are female. Also, I know for a fact that I do not fit the description she is giving.
“Power Posing” is an effective way to train your mind to deal with stressful situations. I thought this was silly until she went on to explain the experiment that was completed. Students were asked to pose for two minutes in a position that made them feel powerful and then a position where they felt powerless. Mouth swabs were taken after each position and the results were surprising. Posing in these positions for only two minutes actually changed the hormone levels of these people. By practicing “Power Posing” for a few minutes before entering a stressful situation (such as a job interview or a class presentation), you can increase your testosterone levels which allows you to deal with stress better. You will feel more powerful and therefore improve your overall performance.
“Don’t fake it until you make it, fake it until you become it”
This quote will be carried with me forever, it is so inspiring. We need to put ourselves out of our comfort zone and pretend that we feel more powerful than we actually do. Eventually, this behavior will become so familiar that is becomes a part of us and we don’t even have to think about it anymore.
Thoughts After Watching:
After watching this TED Talk, I feel as if I have a better perspective on how important your body language really is and how much influence it can have in your life. It is the initial communication between two individuals. People will decide how they feel about you in seconds. Since first impressions are the most important, you need to present yourself appropriately. Body language is also an important part of how you see yourself in society. You have to stand tall, show that you have power and feel confident.
The “Power Posing” technique explained in this video seems like a great way to make “tiny tweaks” for even bigger changes in your life. Over the next few years, I will be entering the business world where the competition is high and I will not do very well if I walk around like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I think Amy had some very interesting points in her presentation that we all should think of from now on. How we present ourselves will define how well we do in society.