By Pallavi Sharma
“If you think about what people are doing in a job interview. You picture somebody sitting in a chair and they are hunching over their iPhone or Blackberry. They are making themselves small” – says Amy Cuddy, social psychologist and professor at Harvard Business School. When I first watched the video – Game Changers, I couldn’t believe that simply changing ones posture could bring about significant changes in ones behavior and thinking.
So I started going back to all my times at work when I felt powerful and in control, or for that matter even in school. Those times have typically been when I am leading a meeting at work, or leading a discussion in class, or when I am placed in a position of authority. And then it struck to me that in all those times subconsciously I made myself big – spread my hands more and had basically an open and confident posture. And it all made sense to me that just changing your posture, makes a huge difference in the way you feel.
In this video, Amy mentions that the science behind it all is that when a person assumes a power posture, the testosterone level in their body goes up and the cortisol level drops. Testosterone = dominance and a feeling of ownership and power. However, on the other hand, Cortisol = Stress, which causes inability to adapt in highly stressful situations. So what she suggests is not to put your legs up on a table and put your hands behind your head in a job interview, but she emphasizes that we assume these postures right before the interview – in the bathroom, in the waiting lobby, etc. So by the time your interview starts, you are exuding high degree of confidence, and make your chances of getting the job much higher. She summarizes her research in one very simple sentence which stuck with me, “Can you fake it till you make it?”
So I challenge you to try power posing before a big event, a big presentation at work, or any situation which maybe nerve racking, and see if it makes a difference in the outcome of that event. And I would love to know your experiences. Please feel free to leave your comments below.